Former Horizon Holidays chairman Bruce Tanner has died, aged 89.
Tanner was known for establishing Horizon Holidays as the UK’s third biggest tour operator in the 1980s.
He and others formed Horizon Midlands in 1964, with the original London-based Horizon Holidays taking a 25% stake. The first brochure for summer 1965 offered holidays only from Birmingham, and the company became so successful that it was the first tour operator to become a publicly quoted business.
When the original Horizon went out of business in 1974 as part of the Court Line collapse, Tanner’s company was able to carry on operating from Birmingham and East Midlands airports. The Midlands tag was dropped as Horizon expanded nationally, not only as a tour operator but with hotels, charter airline Orion, about 20 travel agencies, and several brands including Holiday Club International and Broadway Holidays.
Tanner was chairman for many years and left when the company was acquired by Bass.
Industry historian Dave Richardson said Horizon was also very profitable and had a considerable reputation for quality and service, and so it declined to get involved in the price wars between the big two, Thomson and Intasun, in the 1980s.
Horizon was taken over by Thomson in 1988, which retained the Horizon brand for only a few years.
Michael Knowles, who was Horizon’s marketing director, said: “This is the end of an era, especially for us Midlanders. Bruce was very well thought of by travel agents, hoteliers, suppliers and employees, and of course by shareholders. The contribution of Bruce to the overseas travel market should not be underestimated.”
Former Horizon staff continue to hold reunions more than 30 years after it was bought out.