Dinesh Dhamija (b. 1950) is a British-Indian business entrepreneur who is best known as founder of the successful Ebookers online travel agency.
Born in Australia, the son of an Indian diplomat, Dinesh grew up in India, Mauritius, Afghanistan, Czechoslovakia and the Netherlands. He was educated at King’s School, Canterbury and attained an MA in law from Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. He worked for various companies including IBM, before in 1980 beginning Dabin Travel with his wife Tani. Initially selling travel tickets from a tiny kiosk at London’s Earl's Court tube station, by 1983 the business had become a travel agency with three established premises, operating under the name Flightbookers. Continuing to grow rapidly, the firm was appointed General Sales Agent for four airlines in the UK and Europe, and became known across Europe with offices in 12 countries.
By 1999, Flightbookers was the 10th largest leisure agent in the UK and employed 235 people. This was also the year that Dinesh, realising the potential of the internet, launched Ebookers as an interactive branch of Flightbookers, becoming the first UK travel agent to take such steps online. Sales went from $23m in 1999 to $1 billion in 2004. Dinesh sold Ebookers for $471m in 2005, making him one of the wealthiest Asian residents in the UK. He is now Chairman of a sustainable investment company with projects in India and Romania, and is an accomplished motivational speaker.
Dinesh is an active member of the World Presidents Organisation (WPO) and the Chief Executive Organisation (CEO). He is a graduate of the President’s Programme in Leadership at Harvard Business School, and a former recipient of Management Today magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Year award.
Dinesh was honoured by the British Travel & Hospitality Hall of Fame in 2004