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Uniglobe’s Charlwood Honored by ASTASeptember 14, 2009 By: George Dooley Travel Agent
U. Gary Charlwood, founder of Charlwood Pacific Group, the company that owns Uniglobe Travel International, was inducted into ASTA’s Hall of Fame. The award is the highest honor that ASTA presents to individuals whose careers have greatly influenced the development and expansion of the travel and tourism industry.
“Gary is an incredible asset to the travel industry. He founded ASTA’s Corporate Advisory Council with his vision of One Voice that we still use today," said Chris Russo, ASTA president and chair. "As CAC chairman, Gary was able to bring together two very different groups with divergent interests and turn them into a cohesive group, fighting together to protect the retail sector from policies and regulations that were to the disadvantage of retail travel. He believes the retail sector of the travel industry needs to be seen as a united front– and that’s a practice ASTA has followed ever since. His experience and integrity have earned him more thanks and gratitude than we can hope to give. In everything he does, Gary personifies the expression that you get out of life what you put into it. And Gary puts in nothing less than 100-percent.”
Charlwood’s most significant contribution to the industry was as the driving force behind the creation of ASTA’s Corporate Advisory Council bringing the leadership of the industry’s biggest players under one umbrella. As founding Chairman of the CAC for its first two terms, he helped protect the retail sector from policies and regulations that were harmful to the industry. Some of the victories enjoyed during his tenure included forcing ARC into successful negotiation of rules on voiding tickets; securing deregulation of CRS rules, thereby preventing government “taking” of agent rights to GDS bonuses/incentives; and many more. He also served as Past Chairman of the CAC for an additional two years and still actively contributes today.
In 1980, Charlwood formed Uniglobe Travel International, which today has more than 750 locations in 40 countries around the world. Charlwood has made Uniglobe’s hallmark to bring experienced business people into the corporate travel sector and guide them to success through cutting-edge training and technology. Many Uniglobe members have been with the Charlwood Pacific Group for more than 25 years.
In 1974, Charlwood focused on real estate working his way from successful agent to owning a real estate company. In 1974, together with a former partner; he purchased the master franchise rights for Century 21 Real Estate Canada Ltd. and developed the company across the country. Century 21 Canada has more than 450 real estate offices and 8,000 salespeople under its umbrella.
Outside of business, Charlwood committed his organizations to support two significant charities to which donations of more than $5 million have been made over the years. Initially Easter Seals was the Charlwood Pacific Group’s primary charity helping hundreds of youngsters with physical handicaps lead as normal as possible a life. More recently, in partnership with Plan International the organization, Uniglobe has funded the building of five all-girls schools in Guinea West Africa affording basic education to hundreds of young girls there otherwise denied such opportunity.
The multi-lingual Charlwood began his career in the 1960’s as a tour guide in Europe. From there he progressed in the travel industry to management positions in both retail and wholesale travel and eventually the airline industry.
Charlwood became the first Canadian to be Chairman of the International Franchise Association (IFA), the world’s oldest and largest association representing the franchise industry and in 2007, he was honored by the group as the 2007 inductee into its Hall of Fame.