Hurtigruten Group Acquires Minority Share in Metropolitan Touring

The Norwegian Hurtigruten Group has acquired a 24.9 percent share in Metropolitan Touring, headquartered in Quito, Ecuador with journeys across the country (including the Galápagos), as well as Peru and Colombia.

“This investment is a unique opportunity for us to contribute to a more meaningful partnership, which naturally allows us to expand quickly, strategically and deliver on our vision for the future together,” said CEO of Hurtigruten Group Daniel Skjeldam, in a press announcement. It specifically offers Hurtigruten the opportunity to enter the Galápagos market, which only allows a certain number of vessels to operate in its waters. Metropolitan Touring currently has three ships of various sizes in the region. The largest, the 90-guest MS Santa Cruz II, is now operating in partnership between the companies.

Metropolitan Touring CEO Paulina Burbano de Lara added: “As we continue the post-COVID recovery, I’m sure the announcement will bolster South America’s position as an exciting travel destination on the global stage, bringing its stunning natural and compelling cultural attractions into sharper focus for today’s responsible traveler.” From the tour operator's side, the partnership brings in a new range of clientele, specifically from Europe, that Hurtigruten has built over its 100-plus years of operation.  

As well as enjoying expedition cruises around South America due to the acquisition, Hurtigruten Expeditions’ guests will be able to explore the mainland, including the Ecuadorian Chocó, Andes and Amazon regions, Lima’s restaurant scene and the Inca ruins of southern Peru, or the coffee farms, nature and Caribbean beaches of Colombia.  

Founded in 1953, Metropolitan Touring pioneered expedition cruising in Ecuador’s Galápagos Islands in the 1970s, where it owns and operates three expedition vessels in the archipelago and one hotel. On the Ecuadorian mainland, the boutique Casa Gangotena in Quito’s historic center, and Mashpi Lodge, an eco-lodge northwest of Quito, form part of its portfolio. Guests’ carbon emissions in Ecuador are offset through the acquisition and management of endangered and biodiverse forests.

With headquarters in Oslo, Norway, Hurtigruten Group has a portfolio with three business areas: Hurtigruten Expeditions, an expedition cruise operator offering around 250 destinations in more than 30 countries; Hurtigruten Norway, which operates Norwegian Coastal Express; and Hurtigruten Svalbard, offering land-based adventures on the Arctic archipelago. 

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