A Pleasant Way To Travel

By Jack E. Richards
Wednesday - July 23, 2008
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Jack E. Richards

By Jack E. Richards

President & CEO of Pleasant Holidays LLC

Six months after graduate school, I applied for a travel job in the Indianapolis newspaper and was hired as manager, travel research and promotion, for the largest air travel club in the country. I spent the next 14 years learning the business and traveling the world, first as a tour guide and lastly as vice president of tour operations. My wanderlust has remained strong for the past 30 years in this business.

Travel allows individuals - together with their friends and loved ones - to experience and embrace new destinations, new cultures, new terrain and new food, and to meet new people in all parts of the world. Travel is essential for nurturing the soul, renewing one’s spirit and taking a break from the cares of everyday life.

I literally grew up in the travel industry. With the fluctuating pace of this industry, I think I’ve quite possibly seen it all: natural disasters, airline deregulation, the introduction of faster, farther-reaching jets, 9/11, eco-tourism, the advent of travel technology and online travel agencies, numerous economic cycles and, most recently, the dramatic increase of oil prices, forcing airlines to close or file bankruptcy.

During the span of my travel career, I’ve been a part of some extraordinary travel companies, holding senior management positions at Hotels.com, America West Vacations, Adventure Tours USA Inc. and ATA Airlines.

Pleasant Holidays president and CEO Jack E. Richards
Pleasant Holidays president and CEO Jack E. Richards (third from left) with his award-winning team at the recent TravelAge West WAVE awards in Los Angeles

Just about one year ago, I accepted the position of president and CEO for Pleasant Holidays, a company that, for the past 50 years, has been nearly synonymous with the word “Hawaii.” We have a team of more than 200 staff members in the Islands, whose dedication, customer service and genuine concern for our customers brings the term “Aloha Spirit” to a whole new level.

While Hawaii is the largest destination for Pleasant Holidays, our company continues to expand its horizons. We manage a portfolio of five travel brands, including Hawaii World & Distinguished Resorts, based in Livermore, Calif., Pleasant Activities in Honolulu, Air By Pleasant in San Diego and Singapore Airlines Vacations, based at our corporate headquarters in Westlake Village, Calif.

After listening to our customers who want to see more of the world with a name they’ve come to trust, we added vacations to Mexico, the Caribbean, Las Vegas, Europe, Costa Rica, Tahiti, Asia and the South Pacific, with plans for even more destinations to be added in 2009.

Pleasant Holidays launched in 1959 and is now one of the largest privately owned travel companies in the U.S. Over the years, we’ve served more than 9 million travelers and have become a subsidiary of the Automobile Club of Southern California in 1999.

Our team shows the “Aloha Spirit” every day as we work with travel suppliers and customers to create unique and memorable vacation experiences.


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