Richard Fain was one of the most iconic figures in travel industry history. His accomplishments are still talked about today, with many saying he had a huge impact on the culture around travel. The next few paragraphs will explore how his legacy is remembered and what it means for future generations in this field.,
The “travel weekly” is a publication that covers the travel industry. It has published an article about Richard Fain, who was the founder and CEO of American Express Travel Services. The article includes quotes from some of the leaders in the travel industry reflecting on his legacy.
Industry executives commented on Richard Fain’s legacy and effect on not only cruising, but the tourism industry as a whole, as news of his retirement spread after 33 years as CEO of Royal Caribbean.
Fain, who helped establish the contemporary cruise industry’s future with inventive new ship designs and a never-ending dedication to travel advisers, has supervised the industry’s expansion. He will step down on January 3 and be succeeded by Royal Caribbean Group CFO Jason Liberty.
“For me, Richard’s legacy is wrapped in two themes,” said Brad Tolkin, World Travel Holdings’ co-chairman and CEO. “He dared to be different. With the creation of the Oasis-Class ships, he revolutionized the game. This was not only a bigger ship, but a huge leap in size from any prior class of ship. He also had the misfortune of launching it in the midst of the financial crisis, in December 2009. The Oasis-Class ships command the highest price premium of any company’s ship classes.”
World Travel Holdings’ co-chairman and CEO, Brad Tolkin. (Image courtesy of World Travel Holdings)
Fain’s “fanatical confidence in the travel distribution system,” according to Tolkin, whose World Travel Holdings comprises multiple travel agency firms such as Dream Vacations and CruiseOne. Richard understood better than anybody else that he would require an army of experienced travel consultants to help him succeed. He never wavered in his dedication, demonstrating it once again by lending money to a tiny tourist firm during the epidemic, despite his own substantial financial difficulties.”
Tolkin is referring to a $40 million travel agent loan scheme that was started in December 2020 to assist agencies endure the travel shutdown with almost no commission revenue.
Vicky Garcia, COO and co-owner of Cruise Planners, remarked, “If I had to name a ‘Godfather’ of the cruising business, Richard would be it.” “He has led Royal Caribbean with honesty, humor, and creativity for 33 years, and I couldn’t be happier for him as he moves to his new post.” We are certain that he will continue to assist in the design and launch of unique and imaginative ships that will move the industry ahead.”
Cruise Planners’ Michelle Fee and Vicky Garcia
“I’m incredibly pleased to not only call him a colleague, but also a friend,” Michelle Fee, founder and CEO of Cruise Planners, said. Throughout the epidemic, he fought diligently to advocate travel advisers, and it is because to his efforts that we are here today, sailing securely again. Richard’s specialty is bringing heart to whatever he does, and we could all see his enthusiasm in the manner he led. He will be missed, but I am thrilled for him as he begins his new job as Chairman of the Board at Royal Caribbean and spends more time with his eight wonderful grandkids.”
Pam Young, Internova Travel Group’s executive vice president of partner relations, emphasized the company’s continuous support for travel agencies. “Under Richard’s leadership, the Royal Caribbean Group was one of the first cruise companies to preserve advisor commissions on canceled sailings. “For the travel advisor community, this was a lifeline,” she added. “In addition, since the epidemic lasted much longer than any of us expected, Royal Caribbean Group launched the ‘Pay It Forward’ program, which benefited the sector once again by offering interest-free loans to eligible agencies.”
Young also mentioned how, throughout the epidemic, Fain presented a calm voice via a series of films addressing travel counselors. The movies, which were taken in his garden, revealed a personal side of Fain that was always pleasant. “Richard was there as a voice of calm when we were all battling to remain hopeful.” “We all had days when we had to dig deep to be optimistic, and his video messages lifted us all,” she added. “All of this is a result of his vision and dedication to the business.”
Fain’s services were also lauded by Roger Dow, president and CEO of the United States Travel Association.
“When one thinks about the cruise business, Richard’s name comes to mind as one of the industry’s most visionary executives,” Dow said. “Richard’s impact stretches well beyond the cruise lines to his numerous worldwide efforts that enhanced the tourism industry overall,” says the statement.
Fain’s leadership was also recognized by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).
Kelly Craighead, CLIA’s President and CEO (Photo via CLIA)
“Richard’s leadership has had a profound impact on the cruise industry’s development and improvements over the last 30 years,” said Kelly Craighead, president and CEO of CLIA. “Richard has offered vital leadership to CLIA throughout his term as CEO of Royal Caribbean Group, inspiring change of an industry that is today leading the world in responsible tourism while giving amazing vacation experiences to people of all ages, interests, and backgrounds.” We are fortunate that in his new capacity, he will stay involved and connected.”
Internova Travel Group CEO J.D. O’Hara complimented Fain on a remarkable career.
ADDITIONAL CRUISE LINES AND CRUISE SHIPS
“Richard has guided Royal Caribbean Group into one of our industry’s premier organizations for more than three decades,” O’Hara remarked. “A staunch supporter of the travel advisor community, he has acted as a role model for myself and other leaders throughout the world.” I’d want to thank Richard in particular for the previous two years, during which we could count on him to be a voice of reason and calm, even on the darkest, most frightening days. Richard’s leadership has solidified the company’s ethos, and we look forward to many more years of working with the new Royal Caribbean leadership. Best wishes to a genuine gentleman.”
Here are some additional words of congratulations for Fain from leaders in the tourism business.
President of Travel Leaders Group, John Lovell
“Richard is a real travel industry icon: an extraordinary leader, a visionary who took Royal Caribbean to unprecedented heights, and, most importantly, Richard is someone who always does the right thing – first and foremost, a humanitarian.” Because Richard is such a strong supporter of the travel distribution system, all of us in the travel business are better off. I wish him great success as he steps down as CEO, and I want to thank him for all he has done for the tourism business over the last 30 years!”
Nexion Travel Group’s president, Jackie Friedman
“Throughout his career, Richard Fain has been a beacon of hope for the travel agency distribution channel, but notably in the last 20 months. His perseverance in the face of adversity, positive video message, financial aid programs, and significant support of ASTA’s lobbying activities all contributed to the survival of numerous small companies.”
Senior vice president of Cruise Specialists, Annie Scrivanich
Richard Fain’s steady, dependable attitude to dealing with the retail sector, methodical expansion of the RCG brands, and real pleasure in his own personnel were all acknowledged by our staff at Cruise Specialists. He never forgot that we are in the people business first and foremost. He was a calming voice of reason throughout the epidemic. We valued his advice, sincerity, and sense of humour, particularly when he sang! His upbeat, motivating attitude is something we should all aspire towards.”
Cruise Planners’ chief sales officer, Theresa Scalzitti
“I started my career in travel with Royal Caribbean, where I learnt a lot from Richard’s natural leadership, which drew everyone together and drove the company forward. It helped me grow as a leader, and I am appreciative for the business culture he established and the work he takes to protect the safety of our travel advisers. He’s a real legend.”