Already one of the largest tour operators in Japan, H.I.S., has acquired another travel group in Canada as it seeks to fuel overall company growth outside a stagnant market in Japan and, in doing so, inch its way toward becoming a global inbound-outbound operator.
It was announced last week that H.I.S. has signed an agreement to acquire Red Label Vacations Inc. which operates redtag.ca, itravel2000.com, The Travel Experts and TravelBrands. A relatively young company—it was incorporated 15 years ago—it is based outside in a suburb of Toronto.
Under the terms of the agreement, Red Label Vacations will continue to operate as an independent, wholly-owned subsidiary of H.I.S. The transaction, which is subject to the standard governmental review-and-approval process for such exchanges, should be final sometime in the first quarter of this year.
Commenting on the acquisition, Hideo Hatano, executive officer, global business development division, H.I.S. Co. Ltd., said: “The acquisition of Red Label Vacations is in keeping with our ambitious expansion plan in North America and we look forward to building upon Red Label Vacation’s branding and experience in the Canadian market space to further service the North American market.”
It was only 15 months ago that H.I.S. announced that it was acquiring Jonview Canada, the largest receptive tour operator in Canada and a major presence in Canada’s tour and travel industry for more than 30 years. H.I.S. purchased Jonview from its Montreal-based owner, Transat, which was in the midst of a corporate re-focus of its mission. Transat had previously sold off its Transat France operation—one of the largest travel companies in France—to TUI France.
The acquisition of Red Label by H.I.S. is part of a decided move by the Japanese tour and travel industry in which—lacking opportunities to increase share in Japan, whose slow-growth population (it has one of the world’s lowest birth rates) offers few opportunities to increase share in a stagnant market—tour operators have been seeking opportunities abroad.
In March 2016, for instance, JTB completed its acquisition of Panorama Tours Indonesia (PTI), one of the largest travel companies in Indonesia with more than 51 outlets and 800 employees across the archipelago nation. Of the move, Hiroyuki Takahashi, JTB president and CEO, said, “Moving forward, we will engage in full-fledged development of our business model, from one that has until now considered human interactions predominantly in terms of outbound travel from Japan, to a model that is global in outlook, with a focus on Asia.”
Then, in June 2017, Brazil’s largest tour operator/travel agency—CVC—announced that it had retained JTB Americas to serve CVC’s customers New York, Florida and California in the United States. JTB already has subsidiaries in Brazil.