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Cisalpina eyes wider international expansion

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Italian travel management company Cisalpina is stepping up its international expansion with a new office recently opened in Germany as well as plans to expand operations into four additional European markets this year.

After opening its first German outpost in Hamburg last November, Cisalpina chief commercial and operations officer, Giorgio Garcea told BTN Europe the company is gearing up for “organised and structured” growth across Europe ahead of an even wider-ranging international expansion.

New offices in London, Paris, Geneva and Madrid are open and equipped with personnel, he said, but the company is awaiting “some formalities” before becoming operational in the local market.

“All offices have four or five staff, but don’t yet have local business. They are currently supporting [operations in] Italy while awaiting ticketing authority approval in the local market,” he said.

“We’re getting there, but it takes time,” he added, citing the need to also integrate mid/back office systems. “By mid-year we should be up and running.”

Part of the Bluvacanze Group and owned by MSC Group, Cisalpina kick-started its aggressive international expansion in 2023, opening nine new offices in destinations such as New York, Santos (Brazil), Izmir (Turkey) and Cyprus.

Garcea said the TMC also has its sights currently set on Asia, where it will likely open offices “in at least two or three countries” by 2025.

The TMC manages all travel for MSC Group and Garcea suggested future growth plans will be guided by the shipping giant’s strategic markets.

“If you want to become a truly global TMC player you need to be in markets like China, India and Australia,” he said. “We’ve also started to consider Japan, but our business might drive us to a place like Singapore. We’re still evaluating all the market opportunities.”

The larger Bluvacanze Group, which also comprises an extensive travel agency network and tour operating arm, reported gross travel volumes worth €810 million in 2023 and expects to reach volumes to the value of €918 million in 2024.

Earlier the month, the group launched its new Travel Innovation Hub in Milan, which houses offices for some 100 Cisalpina travel agents as well as immersive travel retail experiences for Bluvacanze clients.

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