Transat A.T. Inc. became one of the largest international tour operators by implementing a vertical integration strategy that, although not unique, places the organization among select companies in North America. Transat has sales of approximately $3.5 billion, driven by dynamic internal growth as well as strategic acquisitions in Canada and many other countries.
Transat came into being in the early 1980s when a handful of passionate people, led by Jean-Marc Eustache, Lina De Cesare and Philippe Sureau, created Trafic Voyages, a wholesaler specializing in travel from Quebec to France.
In 1987, the Company made a great leap with the adoption of a forward-looking vision focused on growth and vertical integration. The Company, which was then renamed Transat, was listed on the stock exchange through an IPO that generated $8.25 million. The Company used the proceeds to establish its own airline, Air Transat, and to embark into a series of acquisitions in order to solidify its position as an outgoing tour operator in Canada and France, as well as to develop new destination markets. Transat reported modest sales of $23 million at the close of its first fiscal year on October 31, 1987.
From acquisition to acquisition, Transat expanded across Canada and continued to develop its sun destinations as well as routes from Canada to Europe and many other countries. The Company quickly became the uncontested leader in sun destinations and offered unparalleled services to Europe. It also became the leader in tourist travel from European countries to Canada and offers a wide range of both short- and long-haul destination countries and holiday options departing from France.
In 1988, Transat considerably expanded its presence in retail distribution with the acquisition of an interest in the franchisor Consultour. Over the years, it also broke into the airport groundhandling services, and also became the largest incoming tour operator in Canada with the acquisition of Jonview Canada.
The Company had broken into the French market very early on with Vacances Transat (France), the largest tour operator offering travel to Canada, and soon expanded within France, the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe. It acquired French tour operator Look Voyages in 1996, Greek incoming tour operator Tourgreece in 2001, British tour operator Canadian Affair in 2006 and French tour operator Amplitude Internationale, specializing in travel to Tunisia, in 2007. At its destinations, the Company opened offices in Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Florida in order to be able to provide its customers with complementary services. In 2007, Transat created a 1,600-room joint venture with the major Spanish chain H10 Hotels in Mexico and the Dominican Republic.
In Canada, Transat now has some 500 travel agencies and is the largest travel agency network since the acquisition of the Thomas Cook agencies in 2006. Brands include Transat Travel, Club Voyages, Voyages en Liberté, Marlin Travel and TravelPlus.
With thousands of tourism service providers in some 60 countries (including about 50 airlines and 1,500 hotels) and more than 5,000 employees catering to the approximately 3 million people who travel every year, Transat is now one of the leaders in the international tourism industry.