Peter Diethelm (b. 1941) is the Swiss businessman under whose direction Kuoni Travel UK would grow to become an undisputed leader in long haul holidays.
Peter served a three year apprenticeship in Zurich and Geneva with Swissair, before joining Kuoni Travel in 1963. He began as a tour leader, and three years later was tasked with setting up a new tour operation in London. After overcoming the initial obstacle of currency restrictions for travel, Peter would pioneer a full range of charter flights, in the process making long haul travel more affordable to a wider customer-base. New and exotic places such as Sri Lanka, Kenya, Tahiti, Rio de Janeiro, Luxor and Thailand counted amongst the destinations available.
It was in 1974 that Peter negotiated a merger between Kuoni UK and Houlders World Holidays that would cement the success of the business through to his retirement just over thirty years later. During this time, the business grew one hundredfold, to be worth £400m, and consistently reported a 10% pre-tax profit year on year. The 1980s saw the business take the lead in Concorde charters to more than a dozen destinations, including three different around the world in 20 days itineraries. In 1998, Kuoni UK bought Travel Promotions UK, and heralded in the start of the new millennium with a stake in TV Travel Shop.
Peter retired from Kuoni in 2005, but continued to engage in merger and acquisition transactions in the UK, Switzerland and Worldwide. He is currently a non-executive director of SAGA Travel.
Peter was honoured by the Hall of Fame in 1996