by Jennifer Nicole Dienst | August 01, 2008

Pat SchaumannGlobal travel firm Kuoni Travel Holdings, based in Zurich, Switzerland, is expanding its holdings in the meetings, incentives and events industry with new start-ups and acquisitions in the United States and abroad.

Last month, the company acquired Desert Adventures Tourism of Dubai, one of the largest destination management companies in the region, covering Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, in addition to Dubai.

Earlier in the year, Kuoni opened destination management companies in Helsinki, Finland; Innsbruck, Austria; Milan, Italy; and Windhoek, Namibia, and acquired Conference & Touring, one of Germany’s largest DMCs, with offices in Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich, giving Kuoni DMCs in more than 30 countries around the world.

These expansions and acquisitions will make Kuoni one of the largest DMCs worldwide. The development follows the recent expansion of other large global DMCs, including Allied Europe (which acquired PRA Destination Management) and Ovation Global DMC (created by a merger of MCI Group and Ovation Group).

Last fall, Kuoni launched its first U.S.-based venture on the meetings, incentives and destination management side of travel, Kuoni Events in St. Louis. The new firm will offer a variety of services including live event management. According to Pat Schaumann, CMP, CSEP, DMCP and vice president of Kuoni Events, Kuoni has another event company in the United Kingdom and recently opened one in Geneva.

Schaumann added that the company plans to open a Kuoni Events arm in Germany as well as acquire more U.S.-based holdings, including DMCs and production firms, by the end of this year.