BCD Travel has signed an agreement to take a majority ownership in partner Hitachi Travel Bureau in Japan. The agreement gives BCD controlling interest in one of the Asia-Pacific region’s most important markets for corporate travel.
Hitachi Travel Bureau is one of Japan’s leading travel management companies, with 280 employees, offices in Japan and China and annual sales of more than US$330 million. As one of Asia Pacific’s leading economies, Japan’s wide variety of export industries such as automobiles, consumer electronics, pharmaceuticals, bioengineering, semiconductors, shipbuilding, aerospace and processed foods make it a lucrative corporate hub in the region.
“This investment is the result of careful, long-term planning and also a reflection of our commitment to Asia Pacific,” said Greg O’Neil, BCD’s president of Asia Pacific. “As the majority stakeholder in our Japan venture with our trusted partner Hitachi Travel Bureau, we look forward to enhancing our product and service offerings for both global and local clients in this key market.”
Kazuhiko Otani, the current President of Hitachi Travel Bureau, remains at the helm as President/Managing Director for BCD in Japan. With over 30 years of local experience and deep industry knowledge, Kazuhiko will be responsible for leading BCD’s growth strategy in this high-potential market.
BCD’s investment in Japan is the latest in a multi-year series of expansion moves. Other acquisitions of majority stakes and full ownership include travel operations in Brazil, China, Hong Kong, Poland and Colombia; Acendas Travel and World Travel Services in the U.S.; Nordic travel agency Ticket Biz, global Grass Roots Meetings & Events; U.K.-based international events agency Zibrant; U.S.-based Universal Meetings Management, Inc. and marketing logistics agency Plan 365 Life Sciences; and mobile technology company GetGoing.
“Our majority ownership of Japan demonstrates our aggressive acquisition strategy,” said John Snyder, president and CEO of BCD Travel. “We’re growing in markets where demand for corporate travel services is increasing and where our clients want us to be. This acquisition opens up new business opportunities for us in one of the world’s most unique travel markets.”