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Altour Acquires The Travel AuthorityAugust 27, 2009 By: George Dooley
In a major move, ALTOUR, one of the largest independent global travel leaders, has entered an agreement to acquire another industry powerhouse: The Travel Authority (TTA). Together, the agencies– which will continue operating under their respective names– offer more than 60 locations around the globe, with sales volume exceeding $800 million. Both are American Express Travel Representatives and the combined ALTOUR/TTA entity will be by far the dominant agency within that prestigious network, the company said.
Management of both agencies will remain in place. Alexandre Chemla will continue to serve as president of ALTOUR and will assume the role of chairman of TTA. Tom Lumley, current president of TTA, will remain on its Board of Directors and continue in an advisory capacity while the agency’s current executive vice president, Lee Thomas, steps into the role of president. A veteran TTA executive, Thomas joined the agency in 1994 and also serves as president of SwiftTrip, a software development company that evolved out of TTA’s 2005 acquisition of TravWell.
“This is a merging not only of two industry leaders but of like minds,” commented Chemla in making the announcement. “Both ALTOUR and TTA have strong understandings of the diverse requirements of the travelers and organizations we serve. Both agencies employ superior technology and we are resolute in our commitment to supporting our customers 24/7/365. This move will only reinforce both agencies’ reputations for providing the highest level of travel services to our clientele.”
Added Lumley, “In today’s times, with consolidation in our industry, it’s important that the cultures of the business be the same. This is definitely the case with ALTOUR and TTA. Our cultures mirror each others’ and our strengths are complementary. This is going to be a great marriage.”
ALTOUR was established in 1991, by industry leader Alexandre Chemla. With a travel volume of over $500 million, ALTOUR is among the largest agencies serving the luxury and mid-market travel niches today. It has 23 offices and more than 700 travel professionals throughout the United States and in Europe.
Complementing its core travel management business, ALTOUR has developed a family of companies including Altour Limousine, Altour Air, Altour Travel Master, Altour Incentive Management, and Altour Management Technology.
In 2009, ALTOUR signed a joint program with American Express Travel. The agreement is designed to strengthen and expand services for American Express U.S. Representative Travel Network and ALTOUR’s travelers around the globe. ALTOUR is ranked as the number one travel agency in Los Angeles County by the Los Angeles Business Journal, where the company is also cited among “2009 Best Places to Work in Los Angeles.”
Founded in 1970, The Travel Authority was originally based in Louisville, KY. Over the next 35 years, the company expanded throughout Kentucky,Ohio, Indiana,Tennessee and Florida and TTA joined the American Express Consumer Travel Network in 2005. Today, The Travel Authority offers a full array of services including corporate travel management, online travel, vacation travel stores, meetings and incentives, 24/7/365 travel support center and Champion Sports Tours, its collegiate and professional fan travel division.