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FounderMike Gooley

Trailfinders is a British travel company in the United Kingdom and Ireland. It is the largest independently owned travel company in the United Kingdom, and has 31 travel centres in the UK and three in Ireland. The company "specialises in tailormade travel worldwide[1]" including Australia, New Zealand, North & South America, Asia & Africa.


Trailfinders was founded by former SAS-officer Mike Gooley in October 1970 in an office of four staff based in a top-floor ‘garret’ on Earls Court Road in London.[2]

Initially, the business specialised in overland trips "I went to Thomas Cook and asked about overland trips to Kathmandu," Mike Gooley recalls. "They said 'we don't do that - we're a travel agency[3]'.

In 1972 Trailfinders became the UK's first flight consolidator and advertised discounted air tickets in the national press.[4] In 1979 the company became the first travel organiser to be IATA-licensed and to be granted an ATOL licence by the Civil Aviation Authority. In 1990 the company pioneered the concept of tailormade travel.[5][6]

Today Trailfinders is the largest independently owned travel company in the United Kingdom[7] and employs over 1000 staff.[8] It has made travel arrangements for over 15 million clients and has 31 travel centres in the UK and three in Ireland.

Trailfinders posted record breaking results in 2018 with turnover up 10.7%. Founder Mike Gooley decided not to take a dividend donating £10m to charity.[9]


Trailfinders has won many national awards voted for by the press and travelling public.

Recent awards include:

The Times, The Sunday Times & The Sunday Times Travel Magazine Travel Awards - UK's Best Tour Operator 2018[10]

Food & Travel Magazine Awards 2018, 2017 - Tour Operator of the year[11]

National Geographic Traveller 2017 - Travel Experts[12]

The Guardian - Most Trusted 2016 and Best Package Holiday Operator 2016[13]

The Telegraph Travel Awards - Best Tour Operator 2014, 2012, 2011, 2008, 2007, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001[14]

Which? Awards - Best Travel Company 2015 [15]

Which? Consumer Travel Survey - Best Holiday Company 2014, 2013

CLIA UK & Ireland Cruise Excellence Awards - High Street Travel Agent of the year 2015, 2014[16]


Trailfinders was founded and is still privately owned by Mike Gooley who is also the Executive Chairman. Gooley was named Entrepreneur of the Year in the Consumer Services category at the inaugural EY National Entrepreneur of the Year awards in December 1999. In 2006 he was appointed a CBE for his services to the Travel Industry and to charity. In 2007 he was awarded the prestigious 'Chairmans Award for Most Important Contribution to Australian Tourism by an Individual' by Tourism Australia.[17] In 2018 The Sunday Times Rich List named him as the UK's 21st most generous giver to charity.[18]


  1. ^ "About Us". Trailfinders. Trailfinders.
  2. ^ "Obsessive trailblazer". The Guardian.
  3. ^ "The Sunday interview: Mike Gooley of Trailfinders". This Is Money. Associated Newspapers.
  4. ^ . Financial Times Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ . Financial Times Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ "Caribbean Islands Vacation". Saturday, 20 April 2019
  7. ^ "British Travel and Hospitality Hall of Fame". British Travel and Hospitality. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  8. ^ "Trailfinders Limited". Companies House. UK Government. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  9. ^ "Trailfinders posts 'record-breaking' results". Travel Weekly. Travel Weekly Group. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  10. ^ "The Times and Sunday Times Travel Awards: the winners". The Times. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  11. ^ "Food and Travel Reader Awards 2018". Food and Travel Magazine. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  12. ^ National Geographic Traveller Retrieved 27 September 2018. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. ^ "Travel Awards 2016: the winners". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  14. ^ "Telegraph Travel Awards 2014: the winners in full". The Telegraph. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  15. ^ "Which? Awards 2015 winners unveiled Read more: - Which?". Which?. Retrieved 27 September 2018. External link in |title= (help)
  16. ^ "CLIA honours cruise industry's best". Travel Daily. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  17. ^ "Executive Profile". Bloomberg. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  18. ^ "Sunday Times Giving List 2018" (PDF). The Sunday Times. Retrieved 27 September 2018.

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