History of Cosmos & the Globus family of brands
The Globus story takes us back more than 85 years ago…to 1928 in Lugano, Switzerland. With a passion for travel, young Antonio Mantegazza purchased a rowboat (on credit) to transport visitors to his country across beautiful Lake Lugano. Along the way, he shared stories and details about the local sights. This small enterprise grew quickly, motivating Antonio to purchase more rowboats and convincing his friends to join him as he expanded his budding business. Rowboats grew to motorboats, then moved to land with a taxi service.
Every good story has an element of luck, and Antonio's good fortune came in the form of a local sweepstakes that awarded him the rights to operate a popular local route for the Swiss national postal and transportation service. To service the route, Antonio purchased his first motorcoach-the beginning of motorcoach touring as we know it today. Now in his thirties, Antonio was at the helm of a full-fledged travel business-a company he named Globus Viaggi.
Through the 1930s, 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, and Rome, among other destinations. Only later did Werner and Antonio discover that Werner's fiancé, Eurosia, was the daughter of Antonio's sister, Agnese. This family connection formed the foundation of the company for decades to come.
As business grew through the 1950s, so did the company's scope. The Globus portfolio 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 '50s.
Now with his son Sergio by his side, Antonio and the company continued its rapid growth. In the 60s, 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 ‘80s, Globus truly became worldwide, selling in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. The portfolio of destinations expanded, too, with the additions of Africa, the South Pacific, and Asia.
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 more than 500,000 passengers a year, making the organization the leading operator of guided vacations worldwide.
Antonio's ideals of passion, hard work, innovation, and love for travel remain at the core of the company, and we are as committed as ever to introducing travelers to the very best of the destinations we know so well. Who would have thought that a single rowboat would have such a far-reaching impact?