Southern World was formed in 1991, born out of Tourism Holdings Ltd (THL) in New Zealand, who operated Newmans Holidays, Horizon Holidays and A&P Holidays in New Zealand. THL moved away from being a tour operator in 1996, and Southern World was sold to key management and became a privately owned stand-alone business.
In July 2001, David Armour, Peter Askin & Martin Horgan all made an offer to buy shares in Southern World Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. We had all worked together for many years at Newmans, and had aspirations to be owners of Southern World, as it was a business we loved and understood well.
In Australia a 4th shareholder, Trevor Fernandes, came on board in 2003. Trevor’s family owns and operates a very well established and respected Safari Company in East Africa called Wildlife Safari, and the connection was that Peter Askin had also represented Wildlife Safaris in the North American market previously. So the Australian Shareholders today remain as Trevor Fernandes (SWV Group Chairman), David Armour (Managing Director, SWV Australia), Peter Askin (Director and VP Sales North America) and Martin Horgan (Managing Director, SWV New Zealand).
Our initial partner in New Zealand, Richard Peate, retired in 2013 and we were very pleased to add two new shareholders to Southern World New Zealand. Trevor Fernandes again, and also our New Zealand General Manager Tim Reid, who had been with us since 2001. So our New Zealand shareholders are Trevor, Martin, Peter, Tim and David – 5 of us. Southern World Fiji is also the same 5 shareholders. So all Directors are invested in our business, and we’re all directly involved in the day to day operations of Southern World.
Southern World would be described as a medium, possibly medium plus, sized Inbound Tour Operator (ITO) in both Australia and New Zealand. Large enough to ensure our buying power is as good as any, yet small enough to ensure we provide an excellent personalised service to our clients, both our wholesale partners and their customers on the ground in destination. We don’t work directly with consumers. We have very strong, long standing supplier relationships, and we see them as our partners. We negotiate hard, but are fair and reasonable. We’re well funded with no borrowings, financially secure, and we pay our invoices on time, every month. We’re in this business for the long haul, and not short-term gain, and that is the way we treat all our business partners.
Our business is a mix of Special Interest, adhoc and Series Groups; Individual travellers (couples, families) from mid-range to high end luxury; and Incentives. We are one of only three preferred partners with Virtuoso, a high end Consortia of agents worldwide (see http://www.virtuoso.com ), so our delivery has to be at the very highest level. Our key markets are North America (USA and Canada), UK, Europe, Scandinavia, South America and Asia (NZ only). We have our own full-time Sales Offices in North America, with Peter Askin and his son Aidan Askin, and in the United Kingdom with Valerie May covering the UK, Ireland, Europe and Scandinavia. We also make sales calls to our agents and attend trade shows in Australia (ATE), New Zealand (Trenz), the UK (World Travel Market), USA (Virtuoso Travel Week, IMEX) and South America annually.
Most importantly, our wonderful staff are dedicated, hard-working, and always trying to learn more about the country they promote and sell. There’s new product being offered for us to experience and review on a regular basis, but only those that we feel are suitable to be offered to the international market will be made available to our agents.