Who Are the Richest People in Travel?

Andrew Magill, Flickr

Skift took a look at the recent Forbes 400 list and pulled out all the people that had a connection to the travel industry. It found 30 people on the list who were in some way involved with travel.

It’s no news that there’s money to be had in travel. In fact, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council, in 2012, global tourism was responsible for $2.1 trillion to global GDP and 101 million jobs.

So who’s on the list? The top spot for the richest travel investor goes to Jack Taylor, the founder of Enterprise Rent A Car, with a net worth of $11.4 billion, and who comes in at No. 36 on the overall list. But maybe more impressive is the Pritzker family, the owners of Hyatt; 10 members of the family are on the Forbes 400 list.Based upon the rankings, hotels, casinos and cruise lines seem to be the most lucrative areas of travel investment. But then again, so is online media: Barry Diller of Expedia has a net worth of $2.1 billion.

According to Skift’s list, here are the top five richest people in the travel industry, with their overall Forbes listing:

36 Jack Taylor and Family Enterprise Rent A Car $11.4 billion
61 John Malone Cable TV, Expedia $6.7 billion
61 Elon Musk Tesla Motors $6.7 billion
70 Micky Arison Carnival $5.9 billion
118 Barbara Carlson Gage hotels, restaurants $3.9 billion

Looks like it’s time to go and brainstorm a new travel app that rents cars in a luxury casino on a cruise.

Roll with the rich in five easy steps: travel like you’re on the Forbes 400

From peaking through the curtain to first class to eyeing the VIP check-in line at the hotel, travelers are envious creatures. Someone else always has something we want – be it an experience, device or amenity. We fantasize about the perfect travel experiences, wondering what it must be like to [fill in the blank with what you dig most].

Nobody knows how to travel quite like the billionaires on the Forbes 400. Sure, this crowd isn’t hitting hostels, mingling with the locals and doing all the stuff we say we prefer. They’re busy with butlers and maids and yachts and poetry readings (sorry, not joking on this one). You’re not going to get the “genuine” travel experience if you roll like the rich, but who the hell cares? The last thing I’d want is genuine if I had that kind of cash.

Interested in traveling like the insanely wealthy? After the jump, there are five simple steps to running with the big dogs when you tour the world. It’s not nearly as hard as you might think … as long as you have the cash to back it up.

1. Vacation homes are a must
Yes, there’s something to be said for the luxury of a hotel’s best penthouse with butler service, private dining and a special entrance. You don’t want to mix with the proletarians, after all. But, this type of travel means you’re not in control. Eventually, you’ll find boundaries. So, to travel like the insanely rich, buy vacation homes in the places you like best.

2. Yacht or not
Vacation homes are nice, especially when they’re on the water, but you’ll never get away from land. To dart out from your troubles – or a collapsing Ponzi scheme – you need a yacht. Right now, yacht sales are in the tank, so you can get a better price than you may expect. Keep in mind that this is a billionaire‘s game: don’t try to do it on the cheap. If you can’t afford a yacht (or simply don’t want one), you can always explain away your yachtlessness with something about seasickness or a penchant for other vices (like mistresses).

If you do go the yacht route, pimp it out properly. Rupert Murdoch took friends and families on a cruise to Alaska. Just in case that wasn’t enough, his sailboat is decked out with a “technogym,” deep-sea diving equipment and king-sized sleeping cabins.

Do it big.

3. Join a club
Rich people and clubs … crazy. It starts in college, with the likes of Skull and Bones, and by the time these kids become adults, they’re paying ridiculous sums of money just to be allowed to spend money on dinner and drinks. Michael Bloomberg, New York‘s mayor, belongs to the Game Creek Club in Vail, Colorado. The privilege involves a $50,000 initiation fee, but I imagine the grub is fantastic.

4. Have the right friends
Again, Mayor Mike does it right, golfing with Ross Perot and Silvio Berlusconi. They’re both unbelievably wealthy and turned to politics after amassing fortunes in the technology/media space. When you’re that rich, you need to travel with people like you. So, be prepared to trade in your old friends – it’s nothing personal.

5. Do weird stuff
We all know that billionaires are crazy. So, when you travel, you can’t resign yourself to sightseeing, beach-sitting and cocktail-sipping. You have to do something bizarre … because you can. Stephen Spielberg attended a cliff-side poetry reading on Ireland’s Aran Islands before touring the moors on a motorized bike. Oracle chief Larry Ellison prefers speed, flying around in a MiG 29.