JOHN Hays has picked up his second major award in as many weeks.
The Hays Travel founder was presented with the Institute of Travel and Tourism (ITT)’s Odyssey Award ‘in recognition of a significant contribution to the travel and tourism industry’ in a ceremony at London’s Dorchester Hotel.
The honour comes after John received the Lifetime Achievement award at the Sunderland Echo Portfolio Business Awards 2014 earlier this month.
Diane Bouzebiba, UK and Ireland managing director of ITT technology partner Amadeus, donned suitable attire to present John with his latest trophy.
“To be recognised in this way in front of the travel industries’ ‘‘great and good’ in the beautiful Dorchester Hotel made this an emotional and special night for me,” said John.
“I am so proud of our people and teams and of our Sunderland heritage. The lady making the award even wore a red dress and a Sunderland AFC scarf for the presentation.”
The Odyssey Award is only presented as and when the Board of the Institute of Travel and Tourism feels an individual meets the exceptionally high criteria and has only been given 18 times in the institute’s 60-year history.
Previous recipients include Carolyn McCall, CEO at Easyjet; Peter Long, CEO at Thomson Holidays, and Sir Richard Branson.
ITT chairman Steven Freudmann said: “John joins a list of impressive winners.
“In choosing John, the board was mindful of the fact that he has led his company from humble beginnings to the largest independent travel agency in the UK with a turnover in excess of £700million, and throughout that period has always looked after both his staff and his customers.
“John Hays was the unanimous choice of the ITT board of directors.
“There can be no question that John has played a significant part in the development of the travel industry over many years, particularly the independent sector.”