Peter Bath, MBE (1927–2006) was the chairman of the Bath Travel empire, including Palmair which he himself precipitated. He was also a founder member of the Association of British Travel Agents.
The Bath Travel business was founded by Peter’s father, Reginald in 1924, and Peter took over the running of it after serving in the Royal Navy during the Second World War. At this time, the company operated from a single site in Albert Road, Bournemouth – where the head office remains today – but under Peter’s direction, it expanded to more than 60 offices across a number of countries. In 1958, he started up the Palmair tour operation between Bournemouth and Mallorca, adding other destinations over the years that followed. In 1993, he launched Palmair Flightline, which soon became firmly established as Bournemouth’s very own airline, and in 2003 was rated the top airline flying from the UK in a survey of UK air passengers by the consumer magazine Holiday Which?
Peter became well known for the personal touch that he insisted on, and he was famous for personally seeing off all of his company’s flights, which delighted hundreds of thousands of Palmair passengers over the years. Under his leadership, Bath Travel became the largest independent travel agent in the south of England, with annual sales in excess of £100m.
In 2005, Peter was awarded the MBE for services to travel and charity. Since his death, the company has continued to be managed by the family, and was acquired by Hays Travel in 2013.
Peter was honoured by the Hall of Fame in 2003.