In a move to enhance its North America presence, Flight Centre Travel Group (FLT) has agreed to acquire Quebec City-based Les Voyages Laurier du Vallon (LDV), a strong player in the luxury and corporate travel markets.
One of the largest independent travel agencies in Quebec province, LDV has six locations in Quebec City and one in Montreal and currently employs about 100 people.
The company was founded in 1963 and has five luxury leisure travel storefronts, similar to FLT's Travel Associates offering in Australia, Flight Centre said. The division generates about half of LDV's total travel volume. Its corporate travel business generates about 40% of group travel volume, and includes a growing meetings and incentives division.
FLT was previously under-represented in Quebec, partly as a result of challenges posed by local guidelines relating to use of the French language, the company said in a press statement.
Company executives cited LDVs corporate travel product suite as another motivation behind the purchase, as well as their "proven marketing expertise, global supplier relationships" and "rapidly expanding range of unique airfares, packages and in-destination offerings."
"Quebec is a large and attractive market for FLT, but our ability to expand and grow market-share in this province has, until now, been constrained," said FLT managing director Graham Turner. "By working with LDV, we will be able to leverage the business's local expertise, experience and linguistic capabilities to grow our presence in Canada's second largest market.
The businesses will retain the LDV brand and current LDV general manager Nicolas Racine will continue to run the business. He will also become part of FLT's Canada senior leadership team, reporting to FLT's president in Canada, John Beauvais.
The Canada group falls under FLT's broader Americas division, and is the company's second largest business by sales behind its home country of Australia. The Americas group includes Flight Centre USA, the FLT Canada business, (with a presence in eight Canadian provinces), and a small corporate travel operation in Mexico, which FLT acquired early in fiscal year 2016.
In addition, the company recently acquired a 24.1% interest in Bibam, an Argentina-based travel and technology group with a strong presence in the on and offline leisure, corporate and wholesale travel sectors.