Gabriel Barcelo Oliver
Co-founder and honorary president
Barceló Group

Gabriel Barceló Oliver (b. 1928) is the entrepreneur co-founder and honorary president of the Barceló Group, vice-president of the Barceló Foundation, and honorary president of the Tourist and Cultural Foundation of the Balearic Islands.

The origins of the Barceló Group stem from 1931, when Gabriel’s father, Simón, began a business that specialised in transportation. Gabriel and his brother Sebastian were involved in the business from a young age, and jointly took over the reins after the Second World War, opening their first travel agency in Palma de Mallorca in 1954. In the 1960s, the company launched “Pueblo” hotels, a new style of hotel designed specifically for families. In 1970, the company opened its first hotel in mainland Spain, the Barceló Pueblo in Benidorm, and in 1981 acquired the tour operator Travis.

By the mid-1980s, the company had started to expand internationally and under the name of Barceló Hotels & Resorts opened the Barceló Bávaro Beach Resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. This was the first hotel opened by a Spanish chain in the Caribbean area. Gabriel was President of the Barceló Group from 1960–1993, and during this time oversaw the development of 72 companies consisting primarily of hotels and travel agencies, 39 of which were located in foreign countries. He also founded, as president, the newspaper El Dia de Baleares; the Confederation of Business Associations of the Balearic Islands (CAEB) and ISBA Mutual Assurance Society. 

Gabriel has received numerous Spanish and international awards, including the Gold Medal of the Balearic Islands for the Promotion of Tourism in Mallorca, and the Gold Medal for Merit in Tourism in Spain. He was appointed Knight of the Order of Christopher Columbus by the Government of the Dominican Republic in 2001.

The Barcelo Group continues to be run by the family. Gabriel was honoured by the Hall of Fame in 2001.