Britaly Travel and Typically Holidays founder Carlo Broccoli has died aged 95.
Carlo set up travel agency Britaly Travel, which specialised in flights to Italy, in 1984 with his son Daniele, who now runs the business and is also on Abta’s board of directors.
Daniele paid a heartfelt tribute to his father, who passed away in his sleep in the early hours of January 21 after falling ill two days earlier. He said his father would be remembered for his kind nature, infectious smile and keen business sense.
He said: “My dad was a great man and he had a great life. If I become half the man he was, I will be a happy man. He had time for everybody, he always gave you a smile and had a twinkle in his eye.
My dad was a great man and he had a great life
“He retired from the business 20 years ago but we used to chat twice a day on the phone and meet for lunch every other day – I will miss that chat and telling him about the business.
“We ran the business together and we went through the Iraq war, the ash cloud, 9/11, together. He taught me how to run the business.”
He added: “One of the hardest things after my dad passed was seeing the Typically Holidays brochure on his bedside cabinet in his room, but I can’t be sad because he’s with my mum now. She died two years ago but he was still madly in love with her. They were together for 75 years and now they are together in heaven.”
Carlo first came to the UK from his home near Bologna in Italy aged 21 in the 1950s to work as a labourer in the brickyards when there was a worker shortage after the war. He went to night school to learn English and became an interpreter for the police.
He set up Peterborough’s first Italian greengrocer, which soon became a hub for the Italian community in the city.
It was only after he retired from this business that he had the idea to set up Britaly Travel after spotting a gap in the local market.
Britaly Travel – which specialised in flights from Britain to Italy, hence the name – was set up with the slogan “Only birds fly cheaper” and catered for Italians who wanted to fly home to Italy from Peterborough.
“I had just finished school and he said why don’t we set up a travel agency for the Italian community,” recalled Daniele. “I went to London to learn from a company called Pilgrim Air (later Magic of Italy) about how to sell flight tickets and he sorted out the shop. We didn’t have a computer, just a calculator, a map of Italy on the wall, and a sign saying £80 flights to Rome, and that was it, we started selling flight tickets.”
The agency became a Worldchoice member and later set up trade-only tour operator Typically Holidays in response to tour operators persuading its clients to book direct.
Carlo – who was also in the local operatic society and the first Italian tenor in Peterborough – became well known on fam trips, was on the first flight to Venice with Britannia Airways, and got to know former Spandau Ballet frontman Tony Hadley after selling him a holiday.
Daniele credited his dad with persuading him to get more closely involved with Abta and attributed his dad’s philosophy on business for helping the company to survive Covid.
He said: “He used to say if you can’t afford it, don’t have it and you can go to bed with a clean conscience. He was old-school. If you want a computer, make sure you have the money to buy it, he’d say.
“When Covid came we owned everything, the only expenses we had were the wages. My dad always made me keep money aside for a rainy day and keep the reserves high; and that’s what saw us through Covid. He always said he’d rather do fewer bookings and make more money; his worry was how much money we had in the bank.”
My dad always made me keep money aside for a rainy day and keep the reserves high
Carlo was the oldest and last remaining of seven children and was married to wife Edmonda for 75 years. He leaves behind two sons, five grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
His funeral is at 11.30am on February 13 at St Peter and All Souls Church, Peterborough, PE1 2RS. The office will be shut out of a mark of respect and so that staff can attend. It is likely to be attended by up to 400 people, said Daniele.
He added: “So many people are now contacting me with their little stories about my dad’s kindness and how he helped them. Everybody loved him. Even when I rang the undertakers after he died, they told me they would treat him like a king because he had helped their family for years. I didn’t realise how many people he had helped and how well respected he was.”
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