Central Holidays' CEO Talks Purchase by SGI

Today, the industry began buzzing with the news that Central Holidays, a tour operator specializing in travel throughout Europe and the Mediterranean, was purchased by Sakkara Group International (SGI), a global travel organization that owns and operates a portfolio of tourism companies, hotels, and cruise businesses. Sakara acquired a 100 percent ownership interest in the company and its affiliated businesses.

"The move is very good," Gianni Miradoli, acting CEO of Central Holidays and its affiliated businesses, told Travel Agent, "because the new owners have been in the travel business for many years…They have offices all over the world."

SGI was Central Holidays' supplier for Egypt, Miradoli added, so they already had an existing relationship. "Sometimes, the people who purchase companies do it just for the investment, and there are difficulties. This time, we have a good company coming in."

As reported earlier, Central Holidays will continue to operate as a standalone entity, managed by a Board of Directors, and will retain its name. Joe Berardo will join the Board of Directors as an honorary member. Fred Berardo will remain in his role as President and will now focus solely on new business development. Gianni Miradoli will serve in the role of Acting CEO reporting to SGI’s Board of Directors and will handle day-to-day operations of the company."The employees will stay," Miradoli said. "Everything will continue. What they want me to do is bring Central Holidays to the next level: refresh it, increase it and look more carefully at what the market is asking. We will make adjustments to be the leader in the market."

The next year will not bring many huge changes to Central's brochure, he added. "If we're going to have the 2013 brochure out in October, there's no time to do something new. But we're starting to look at 2014 with some new products and ideas." Some of those ideas include a new luxury product that will focus on small groups and families traveling together with a private driver. "We will create a new collection with the most particular accommodations in the best locations, with cooking classes and spas and top luxury service." Miradoli believes that the luxury product will initially focus on Italy--"including Sicily, which has some very high-end accommodations.

"We're studying what the American market is asking," he continued. "I have the full support of the company. They are willing to invest in it."

STI Travel USA, headed by Gary Greis, Board Member of SGI, will relocate to the Central Holidays global headquarters location in Moonachie, New Jersey.

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