AITO co-founder hailed as pioneer of summer and winter package holidays

Colin Morison Small obit
By Linsey McNeill
Home » AITO co-founder hailed as pioneer of summer and winter package holidays

AITO co-founder Colin Murison Small has died at the age of 93.

He has been hailed as a trailblazer and pioneer of both summer and winter packages.

His company Murison Small, later renamed Small World, was the first to hire chalet hosts, or Muribirds as they were known in the 60s.

The concept for the chalet party was born in 1958, when Colin travelled with friends to Yugoslavia and since two of the women weren’t working at the time the others all agreed to cover their costs for accommodation and food if they agreed to cook. 

After deciding that this made a great business idea, Colin launched his company when he returned, with the two women as his first employees.

The first chalet party holiday was held in Grindelwald, Switzerland during the 1958/59 ski season – with the summer equivalent, villa party holidays, beginning in Blanes, northern Spain, in the summer of 1959.

In the early 1960s, he travelled to Rhodes, where he sent his first Greek villa party to stay in ‘The Captain’s House’ in Lindos.

Colin parted company with Small World in 1985, setting up a couple of new ventures, including Hidden Greece.

When the Civil Aviation Authority decided in 1975 that tour operators must provide a financial bond to protect customers’ holidays, Colin arranged a meeting of his competitors in a London pub to launch an association of independent operators (AITO) that would provide them with the financial backing they all needed. 

His funeral will be held on Thursday 7 March at 2pm at Salisbury Crematorium; contact Alex Small on [email protected] for details and to register.

Information provided by Colin’s son Alex Small, Noel Josephides and other friends.

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