English Corner

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Stephan Roemer, Owner of Tourasia (on the right) and new CEO of Diethelm Travel Group, shakes hands with Angelo van Tol, Chairman of Diethelm Travel Holding, in the Zurich offices of Diethelm Keller Group. Photo credit: Tourasia

Stephan Roemer is the new CEO of Diethelm Travel Group

Tourasia Roemer – the largest tour operator in Switzerland specializing in travel to Asia – and Zurich-based Diethelm Travel Holding are merging their Asian destination management operations. The deal creates one of the largest destination management companies in Southeast Asia, with more than 500 staff in 13 countries and a combined annual turnover of USD 90 million.

Swiss Asian travel specialist Tourasia is merging its «All Asia Exclusive» and «Blue Horizons Travel & Tours» brands with the Asian portfolio of Bangkok-based Diethelm Travel. The deal creates one of the largest incoming tour operating enterprises in Asia. Under the Diethelm Travel Holding parent company,  «Diethelm Travel» and «Blue Horizons Travel & Tours» together comprise some 500 staff. This figure includes the entire personnel of «All Asia Exclusive», which will no longer operate as an independently managed brand.

Operational management of the merged activities is being assumed from mid-September by Stephan Roemer, founder and Managing Director of Tourasia. According to a telephone interview conducted with travelnews.ch, Roemer details that Tourasia brought its DMC operations into Diethelm Travel Holding by means of an asset deal, and acquired a stake in Diethelm Travel Holding. Though Roemer does not give any details about the size of the stake and the costs of this transaction, he is known to only invest in projects where he is at least on parity or has a majority of the stakes.

Roemer prefers to talk about the obvious benefits of the deal: «By joining forces and combing our considerable strengths, we will be the only travel company operating a fully comprehensive service network with its own locations throughout Southeast Asia.» Roemer will not only be the new CEO of the Diethelm Travel Group, but will also be serving on the board of management of Diethelm Travel Holding. Country managers in Asia will in future report directly to Stephan Roemer.

It needs to be said that Roemer will keep all his current functions at Tourasia, located in the Zurich suburbs. He will just be travelling to and from Bangkok - where he already owns a second home - more in the future.

The main focus is on quality

The Diethelm Travel Group (founded in 1957) is a subsidiary of the Diethelm Keller Travel Group, the travel division of Switzerland's internationally active Diethelm Keller concern. The Diethelm Keller Travel Group also owns STA Travel – the world's largest student travel company – and as well as holding a 50 percent stake in the Globetrotter Group in Switzerland and a majority shareholding in the Explorer Group in Germany. Diethelm Travel is one of the oldest established tourism enterprises in Asia, operating from locations in 12 countries, including Sri Lanka/the Maldives, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Malaysia and Singapore. Tourasia operates subsidiaries in Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines, servicing prestigious and predominantly specialized tour operators from throughout the world as well as private travellers.

Paramount priority of the new destination management enterprise will be to set superior quality standards. Guests will benefit from exclusive travel comfort in the company's own fleet of luxury limousines and the services of highly qualified professional tour guides. At all destinations a round-the-clock multilingual concierge team will further ensure that guests enjoy a memorable holiday experience with exceptional added value.

A seasoned professional

DK Travel Holding Chairman Angelo van Tol is adamant: «With Stephan Roemer, we welcome aboard a top travel specialist with long and extensive in-depth experience of Asia.» Roemer (53) has been working in the Asian travel sector since 1982, having first helped to develop the Wettstein tour operating company in Switzerland before founding Tourasia 10 years later. Tourasia is based in Wallisellen, near Zurich, and is also operating in Germany and Poland . The company currently employs 50 staff in Europe.

(JCR)