Kuljinder Bahia
Owner and managing director
Southall Travel

Kuljinder Bahia (b. 1973) is the owner and managing director of Southall Travel, which he is credited with turning into a multi-million pound business.

Born in the Punjab, Kuljinder moved with his family to London where he was educated at the Indian public school, Bishops Cotton. In 1997 he took over the running of the family business, Southall Travel, and transformed the business model from a company mainly selling flights to the sub-continent for visiting friends and relatives to one of the most innovative, fastest growing and forward-looking of travel companies. By using his own technology, having a clear niche in the market, excelling in customer service by phone and keeping a tight control of the cost base, Kuljinder branched out into the mainstream worldwide travel sector, business travel and luxury tour operating. 

In 2007, Kuljinder launched business-to-business arm The Holiday Team to give travel agents access to its value air-fares through its own tailor-made online booking system, and the business has gone from strength to strength. In 2012 Southall Travel was on the Sunday Times Top Track 250 list of the UK's most successful mid-market private companies for the third year running, ranking at 132 on the list alongside brands such as Selfridges, Aston Martin and Warburtons. Today Southall Travel employs more than 850 people globally across its leisure, wholesale and business travel divisions. In 2013, Southall launched its own website, Travel Trolley. Now headquartered in Buckinghamshire, in 2012-13 Southall Travel’s parent company, Onkar International, made £14.8m profit on £283.3m of sales.

In 2008 he was honoured by the British Travel & Hospitality Hall of Fame in 2013.