It all began more than 80 years ago when a young man purchased a rowboat to transport
visitors across Lake Lugano, Switzerland. Who would have thought that this single
rowboat would launch one of the world's leading travel companies?
Today, the Globus family of brands is a global company reaching every corner of
the world, yet remains family-owned and steeped in the values Antonio had when he
set out across Lake Lugano-to enlighten travelers by showing them the very best
of the destinations we know so well.
story takes us back to 1928 in Lugano, Switzerland. Our founder, Antonio Mantegazza,
had been fascinated with travel and the wonder he saw in the eyes of travelers to
his home country. To pursue this interest, Antonio bought a rowboat (on credit)
and began transporting visitors to the area across Lake Lugano, sharing stories
of the local sights and stories along the way. This small enterprise grew quickly,
motivating a young Antonio to purchase more rowboats, convincing his friends to
join him as he expanded this budding business.
Rowboats grew to motorboats, then moved to land with a taxi service. Every good
story has an element of luck, and our story is no exception. Antonio's good fortune
came in the form of a local sweepstakes, from which Antonio won the rights to operate
a popular local route for the Swiss national postal and transportation service.
To service this route, Antonio purchased his first motorcoach--the beginning of
motorcoach touring as we know it today. Now in his 30's, Antonio was at the helm
of a full-fledged travel business-a company he named Globus Viaggi.
Through the 1930's, this company grew to a fleet of 12 coaches, operating local
tours for European tourists in Switzerland.
Business remained strong, and after a hiatus during World War II, Antonio acquired
two other competing coach companies and grew his fleet to 33 coaches (his nearest
competitor had just five!).
Over the years, Antonio's business dealings introduced him to another young man
who shared his ideals and passion for travel-Werner Albek. Antonio and Werner partnered
to operate popular excursions to St. Moritz, Milan, Venice, Rome, etc. Only later
did Werner and Antonio discover that Werner's fiancÃ©, Eurosia, was the daughter
of Antonio's sister, Agnese. This family connection formed the foundation of the
company for the decades to come.
As business grew through the 1950's, so did the company's scope. The Globus portfolio
had expanded from Switzerland and Italy to the French
Riviera, Scandinavia, Holland, Belgium and
England. Innovation was a key ingredient in this success. Early in the decade,
Globus developed the first "circular tours," designed as a more complete travel
experience and enhancing the convenience of motorcoach touring. Antonio and Werner
also pioneered the concept of Grand European Touring by offering first-class European
tours, which became the cornerstone of the company's entry into the U.S. market
in the late 50's.
Now with his son Sergio by his side, Antonio and the company continued its rapid
growth. In the 60's, the company launched its Cosmos arm, which featured affordable,
value-priced European touring for the cost-conscious traveler. These coach tours
were so successful that Cosmos soon introduced another form of travel: air holiday
packages to the sunny destinations of southern Europe. Then in the 80's, Globus
truly became worldwide, selling in Australia, New Zealand
and Canada. Destinations expanded, too, adding Africa, the South Pacific and
Asia to its array of vacations in Europe,
North and South America.
The spirit of innovation continues today. In 2003, both Avalon Waterways and
Monograms were introduced, adding river cruising and independent travel
to the expansive product offering. Today, the Globus family of brands is marketed
and operated by a network of more than 32 offices around the world, serviced by
a group of more than 5,000 professionals. Combined, Globus, Cosmos, Monograms and Avalon Waterways carry over 500,000
passengers a year, making the organization the leading operator of guided vacations
At the core of the company are Antonio's ideals of passion, hard work, innovation
and love for travel. These values are the cornerstone on which Globus family of brands was built and will continue to grow
for generations to come.