Investing in travel isn't such a gamble after all, except if you're referring to gaming -- which appears to be a sure bet when it comes to wealth creation.
Jack Taylor, the elderly founder of Enterprise Rent A Car, is the richest travel investor in the U.S. with a net worth of $11.4 billion, according to the just-released Forbes list of the 400 “Richest People in America,” but when it comes to bragging rights, it’s all about the Pritzker family of Hyatt fame.
We’ve identified 30 people among the 400 (see the table below) who are involved in travel, including Liberty Media chairman John Malone ($6.7 billion) who owned a chunk of Expedia and TripAdvisor and now is a member of the Expedia board, Carnival chairman Micky Arison ($5.9 billion), and Marriott chairman Bill Marriott Jr. ($1.95 billion).
The family most widely represented on the list of the richest travel investors is the Pritzker family, with 10 members occupying spots. The Pritzkers beat out the Fertitta family (restaurants, casinos, Ultimate Fighting Championship), who merely have a trio (Tillman, Frank III and Lorenzo) on the list.
In the race within the race, Thomas Pritzker ($2.7 billion), chairman of The Pritzker Organization, is the richest Pritzker on the list, and Nicholas Pritzker III ($1.3 billion) is the poorest Pritzker to make the Forbes’ Richest list.
But let’s not forget Penny Pritzker ($2.2 billion), the second richest Pritzker on the list, who also happens to be U.S. Secretary of Commerce. Penny Pritzker was edged out by Thomas Pritzker in the richest Pritzker sweepstakes by a mere $500 million.
Overall, judging from the list, casinos, hotels and restaurants appear to be very fruitful investment targets in the travel industry.
But, don’t tell that to Steven Udvar-Hazy ($3.4 billion), the CEO of Air Lease Corp., who made his mark in aircraft leasing, which is obviously a nice way to bring home an honest paycheck.
Here’s the travel-oriented investors represented on The Forbes 400:
The Richest Travel Investors in America
|Forbes 400 Richest Ranking||Name||Source||Net Worth|
|36||Jack Taylor and Family||Enterprise Rent A Car||$11.4 billion|
|61||John Malone||Cable TV, Expedia||$6.7 billion|
|61||Elon Musk||Tesla Motors||$6.7 billion|
|70||Micky Arison||Carnival||$5.9 billion|
|118||Barbara Carlson Gage||hotels, restaurants||$3.9 billion|
|118||Kirk Kerkorian||casinos, investments||$3.9 billion|
|118||Marilyn Carlson Nelson||hotels, restaurants||$3.9 billion|
|143||Martha Ingram and Family||book distribution, transportation||$3.4 billion|
|143||Steven Udvar-Hazy||aircraft leasing||$3.4 billion|
|151||Karen Pritzker||hotels, investments||$3.3 billion|
|166||Anthony Pritzker||hotels, investments||$3 billion|
|166||Jay Robert (J.B.) Pritzker||hotels, investments||$3 billion|
|184||Steve Wynn||casinos, hotels||$2.9 billion|
|201||Thomas Pritzker||hotels, investments||$2.7 billion|
|222||Phillip Ruffin||casinos, real estate||$2.5 billion|
|235||Tillman Fertitta||restaurants, casinos||$2.4 billion|
|252||Penny Pritzker||hotels, investments||$2.2 billion|
|260||Barry Diller||online media (Expedia)||$2.1 billion|
|260||Jean (Gigi) Pritzker||hotels, investments||$2.1 billion|
|273||Richard Marriott||hotels||$2 billion|
|293||Daniel Pritzker||hotels, investments||$1.95 billion|
|296||Bill Marriott Jr.||hotels||$1.95 billion|
|296||Dean White||billboards, hotels||$1.95 billion|
|296||Elaine Wynn||casinos, hotels||$1.9 billion|
|314||Linda Pritzker||hotels, investments||$1.8 billion|
|327||Jennifer Pritzker||hotels, investments||$1.7 billion|
|352||Manuel Maroun and Family||transportation||$1.5 billion|
|382||Nicholas Pritzker II||hotels, investments||$1.35 billions|
|386||Frank Fertitta III||casinos, Ultimate Fighting Championship||$1.3 billion|
|386||Lorenzo Fertitta||casinos, Ultimate Fighting Championship||$1.3 billion|
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Photo credit: Penny Pritzker, part of the Hyatt family that's on the list, testifies before a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee in Washington. Yuri Gripas / Reuters