Six years is a long time to be away from the travel industry, but GTA founder David Babai has decided to come back for another go despite making his fortune in 2005.
Babai is one of the figures behind a new wholesaler focusing on group travel, known as G2 Travel, a remarkably similar offering from the GTA (launched as Gullivers Travel Agency in 1975) business he sold to Travelport-forerunner Cendant in 2005 for an eye-watering $1.1 billion.
In Blues Brothers style, Babai appears to be getting the old band back together, too, assembling the senior management team at G2 Travel from various GTA alumni.
The only named employee so far is David Littlefair who will run G2's offices in Bangkok after leaving GTA in September 2011 as managing director of operations in Thailand.
Other regional offices include Hong Kong, Jakarta, London, Rome and Bucharest.
G2 says it plans to offer "group land services" such as hotels and other local products from around the world, with a particular focus on the Far East, but only as part of a third party, wholesale-type relationship with travel agents.
G2 is not using third party suppliers for Europe, however non-European destinations will be through third party suppliers, an official says.
Very little information is coming out of G2 so far, but the rhetoric is there:
"We recognise in this world of mega company buy-outs and mergers, on-line hotel distribution and multi layer sales and distribution strategies that the traditional values and skills of servicing wholesale groups business has been neglected.
"Specialist group purchasing requires unique skills, experienced and tailor made IT systems, not only to satisfy our clients, but also our suppliers. We recognise that hotels do not want to be dictated to by multinational giants on how to sell their rooms, encompassing the whole spectrum of wholesale, retail and on-line distribution.
"We recognise the service supplier needing a choice of a partner who truly appreciates the word partner in both buoyant periods and testing times."
Babai's disappearing act (and previous well-known lack of enthusiasm for personal publicity) was intentional, with Cendant locking him down with a non-compete for six years after the sale of GTA in 2005.
Travelport offloaded GTA to Kuoni for $720 million in March last year, just a month before Babai's expulsion from the sector ran out.