By Chandeepa Wettasinghe
The world’s leading destination management and tour operator company, Kuoni Reisen Holding AG (Kuoni) will be opening a local branch to take a firmer grip of its operations in Sri Lanka, Mirror Business learns.
Whittall Boustead Travel Ltd, a subsidiary of local blue chip conglomerate John Keells Holdings PLC has been the exclusive partner of Kuoni since 1993.
However, the Swiss-based leisure giant has plans to increase its presence in the island through its subsidiary; India’s lead tour operator Sita Destination Management and is currently hiring professionals to commence operations under its international brand.
Whittall confirmed the move by Kuoni to Mirror Business but was mum about the motives behind its partner’s decision.
Founded in 1906 in Zurich, Switzerland by Alfred Kuoni, the company maintains a dominant share in luxury tours and has won the leading tour operator award for the past 11 years at World Travel Awards.
It posted a turnover of over US $ 6 billion last year, and employs over 12,000 people globally through over 40 brands.
Kuoni has constantly featured Sri Lanka as one of its top 3 destinations in the recent years, while the country claimed the top spot for Kuoni’s destination for Honeymooners last year. Sri Lanka is expected to draw over 1.5 million tourists this year according to government statistics and welcomed its one millionth tourist last month, while targeting 2.5 million tourists in 2016.