Clive Jacobs

Entrepreneur & Investor

About Clive

Clive Jacobs is a British serial entrepreneur, investor and mentor who has been reshaping the business landscape from his early years.

Well-known for building his company holiday autos into the world’s largest leisure car rental broker before its sale to plc in 2003, he has continued to invest, advise and mentor in the travel and hospitality sectors in the years since.

He is currently chairman and owner of the Queen’s Award-winning Jacobs Media, with offices in the UK and Dubai, and executive chairman and majority shareholder of Tully Luxury Travel (formerly known as The Cruise Professionals), a leading North American luxury travel agency headquartered in Toronto, Canada.

Holiday Autos

Clive’s introduction to the travel industry came aged 19, when he started working as a messenger for a travel agent and tour operator. Prior to that, he had worked in construction, life assurance and even in the fish department at Selfridges, having left school aged 15.

After rising rapidly through the ranks, he decided to go it alone and, aged just 21, set up his first travel company from an office in Kent while driving a taxi at night to supplement his income.

In March 1988, Clive co-founded holiday autos, the company credited with reinventing the car rental model with its pre-bookable, pre-paid fully inclusive product and its guarantee to better any like-for-like quote.

When his partners decided to explore a different direction in 1995, Clive brought in ECI Partners to assist him in buying the business and taking it to the next stage in its evolution.

Over the next eight years, Clive and the holiday autos team built a company operating out of 30 countries worldwide and boasting a turnover in excess of £200 million.

More than 70 awards in eight countries were testament to its service and innovation, including the first fully bookable car rental website which was launched in 1999 and handled 80% of transactions globally by 2003.

In March 2003, holiday autos was acquired by plc, with Clive overseeing the integration of the businesses and the delivery of significant financial and worldwide infrastructure benefits as plc’s executive deputy chairman.

Jacobs Media

In August 2009, Clive made his first media investment by acquiring Travel Weekly Group and its associated events and brands from Reed Business Information. He set about transforming the business from a traditional b2b trade magazine to a multi-faceted media and events business with global reach.

The portfolio expanded further in 2012 with the acquisition of the UK’s leading multimedia brand for the hospitality industry, Caterer and Hotelkeeper, which was subsequently rebranded The Caterer.

In addition to growth through acquisition, Jacobs Media has expanded significantly with the launch and development of an array of start-up brands and businesses within its portfolio. These include luxury travel brand Aspire, global B2B events specialist Connections Luxury, and the Association of Touring & Adventure Suppliers. A bold decision to open an office in Dubai during the Covid-19 pandemic and launch the Connecting Travel brand for the GCC region further expanded the company’s international reach.

In April 2020, Jacobs Media received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in recognition of its international growth.

In 2014, Clive took a minority stake in and became executive chairman of leading luxury cruise business The Cruise Professionals, steering the business through diversification into the wider ultra-luxury travel space and driving significant growth after a relatively flat period.

As part of this process, the company was rebranded Tully Luxury Travel in 2015 after its founder and CEO Mary Jean Tully, and in 2018 Clive bought out existing private equity investment to become majority shareholder of the business.

On-going Investment & Innovation

Clive has invested in a number of start-up and later-stage businesses and has acted as an advisor on several significant acquisitions with major banks and private equity firms.

Over the years Clive has also owned Michelin star restaurants L’Ortolan and the New Angel in the UK.

Awards & Achievements

In a career spanning over four decades, Clive has received multiple awards, accolades and appointments in recognition of his business achievements and entrepreneurial drive. These include:


Jacobs Media received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in recognition of its international growth


Clive was made an Honorary Fellow of The Tourism Society.


Clive was instrumental in forming one of the country’s first destination management organisations, Visit Devon, serving as its first chairman.


Clive was the youngest inductee to the prestigious Travel Industry Hall of Fame.


Clive was honoured alongside 20 other industry leaders, including Sir Richard Branson, at World Travel Market’s Tribute 21 list.


Clive was named ‘Director of the Year’ by Decision Magazine in association with PwC.


Clive was awarded the World Travel Market Global Award for outstanding contribution to UK travel.


Clive becomes a Founding Patron of the Teenage Cancer Trust.

Clive provides thought leadership and keynotes at industry conferences, think tanks and policy-making forums. He also takes a keen interest in mentoring and supporting young entrepreneurs.

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