With a substantial personal share holding in First Choice, Howell must be praying for a settled period.
He says: 'A period of calm would be quite nice now.'
And you have to believe him. The year has not been easy. Airtours launched a hostile bid to buy the firm with a package worth £850m, but was stopped dead by the European Commission and 'oligopoly' concerns.
Worse though, the attempt upset a planned merger with Kuoni that would have created an outfit worth £1.5bn.
However, full-year results are expected on 14 December and profits are forecast to be up to £60m.
A substantial increase on last year's £50m, the announcement will be sweetened by the expectation of vast VAT refunds after the appeal against Customs & Excise.
In fact First Choice has done the industry a favour with the total refund expected to reach £20m.
One analyst described the tax team at First Choice as very much the 'golden boys' of the industry.
However, other industry observers did not see the problems as entirely done and dusted. Close watchers believe travel firms have not taken advantage of 'near ideal conditions' for selling holidays this year. On top of that one analyst from HSBC said First Choice still had its work cut out fending off competitors and the tour operators' rush to integrate retail operations on the High Street.'First Choice is by far the weakest of the quoted UK operators and will be further squeezed by Thomson and Airtours,' he said.
Nonetheless Howell remains buoyant.
'It's been quite a traumatic year. But we are carrying on,' he said. 'We have a profit forecast of £60m and we are very happy. We had a disadvantage because we didn't have a high street presence but we do now. We are a long way from finished.'
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