The Advantage Travel Partnership welcomes new member First in Service Travel (F1S)

The Advantage Travel Partnership has announced a new member, USA-based travel experience company First in Service Travel (F1S), ahead of the official opening of F1S’ first UK office in April 2024.

With travel agent and TMC partners across 750 locations throughout the UK and £5.68bn of business travel sales annually from its global membership, The Advantage Travel Partnership were chosen to support F1S as they set up their UK operations. Joining the consortium will enable F1S to utilise Advantage’s significant resources and expert knowledge of the UK travel sector.

Founded in New York in 1991, F1S provides travel experiences across a wide portfolio of leisure, corporate, entertainment and events clients and is one of the fastest growing travel experience companies in North America. The organisation has offices in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Bogota and Toronto as well as an already-established European office in Madrid.

The opening of its first office in the UK, located in the heart of London’s Covent Garden, marks a significant milestone in the company's strategic global expansion and will be led by industry veteran Barry Whittaker in the role of Managing Director UK and Europe.

A stalwart in the British travel industry, Barry will spearhead the UK operations, leveraging his wealth of experience to provide unparalleled service to clients and support to Independent Travel Advisors. His career in travel spans over 50 years and has included Abercrombie & Kent, Tzell UK and Global Travel Collection. Whittaker's leadership will not only elevate F1S's presence in the UK but also foster a community of travel enthusiasts who are passionate about curating exceptional travel experiences.

Fernando Gonzalez, CEO of F1S, expressed his enthusiasm for the expansion into the U.K. market, stating: "We are thrilled to establish our presence in the United Kingdom, a move that has been long in the making. Despite the challenges posed by the global pandemic, we believe the time is right for F1S to offer its unique Travel Experience services to the discerning travelers and Independent Travel Advisors in the UK."

Barry Whittaker, Managing Director UK and Europe of First in Service commented: “Although First in Service Travel has been established in the United States of America for over 30 years and Spain for 3 years, coming to the UK is just like starting again, from the beginning! This is why we chose to join The Advantage Travel Partnership. The team at Advantage are industry professionals who engage specialists from each area of our industry so that we can be sure that whatever questions or concerns we may have as a startup business in the UK, our colleagues at Advantage are there to support us.”

Guy Snelgar, Global Business Travel Director of The Advantage Travel Partnership, said: “We’re pleased to announce the new partnership with First in Service Travel as they enter the UK market for the first time. With a well-established reputation of providing excellent service in the North American market, it is an exciting development and opportunity to work together as they further expand in Europe. We’re looking forward to working closely with Barry and his team moving forward and assisting them with a successful launch in the UK.”

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