The travel industry has been paying tribute to Magic of Italy founder Phil Sheridan – remembered as one half of the “Lennon and McCartney of the travel industry”.
Born in London’s East End, Phil initially worked as a journalist on trade journals and as a sports reporter.
In 1963, he and his wife, Kath, set off on a tour of the world in an old Dormobile campervan, but got stuck on the Italian Riviera. This is where Phil started his career in travel as a resident rep for Riviera Holidays.
Moving back to London in 1970, Phil led a team at Thomson and was also involved in their hotel building programme, breaking ground in Sicily with the Saracen Sands hotel.
Leaving Thomson in 1973, the first Magic of Sardinia brochure appeared in 1974. The programme expanded into the Magic of Italy, and a successful partnership developed between Antonio Alviani – who handled Italian contracting – as well as Phil and Kath.
Phil retired from Magic in 1992 and went on to produce a premier Italian programme for Crystal Holidays, which became the travel company’s most successful programme after ski.
Peter Dyer, founder of Crystal, remembered Kath and Phil as the “Lennon and McCartney of the travel industry”.
Alviani, long-term business partner of Phil and Kath, said: “I have been together with them throughout our careers enjoying unlimited success. Phil’s help and guidance are still part of my daily working life.”
Noel Josephides, Abta and Sunvil chairman and director of Aito, added: “I’ll remember Phil as a solid businessman who created a brand that really changed the popular perception of Italy and revolutionised the way the country was sold.”