Peter Harris
Co-founder and Chairman
Bourne Leisure

Peter Harris (b. 1934) is the co-founder and Chairman of Hemel Hempstead-based Bourne Leisure.

In 1964, while serving as an accountant, Peter was sent to audit a caravan park and decided to enter the industry himself, co-founding Bourne Leisure with David Allen later the same year. The business initially comprised one park with 120 caravans in Whitstable, Kent. John Cook joined the business as chief accountant, and in 1972 the company was floated on the London stock exchange as Leisure Caravan Parks, later acquired by Rank for £20m in 1975. Peter, David and John started over again, and by the end of the 1970’s they had 10 caravan parks. The business grew as a result of owners wanting help in subletting their caravans, and in 2000, Bourne Leisure Holdings bought the Rank Group’s holiday interests for £700m. The purchase, with the assistance of venture firms, included the Haven caravan sites, three Butlin’s holiday camps, Oasis Holiday Village and Warner Leisure Hotels.

Early in 2004, Bourne's venture capital backers were bought out of their 28% stake in the business by Peter and his partners in a deal which valued the company at £1.1 billion. In 2008, Bourne Leisure featured in the top 20 Best Companies to Work For in a list generated by the Sunday Times, and featured in the top 10 over the following two years, also winning TTG Travel Company of the year in 2008, 2012 and 2013. The business employed 5,023 permanent staff as of 2010, looking after more than 4 million customers each year.

In 2014, Peter featured at 164th on the Sunday Times Rich List with an estimated wealth of £600m.

Peter was honoured by the British Travel & Hospitality Hall of Fame in 2013.