Globus president Sergio Mantegazza dies aged 96

Sergio Mantegazza, who helped build the multinational Globus travel company empire, has died aged 96.

The Swiss-Italian billionaire had been owner and president of the business and died on Tuesday, according to reports in European media outlets and through the Swiss news agency Keystone-SDA.

During its history, the company launched Cosmos Holidays in the UK in 1961, with Mantegazza taking the helm of Globus from his father Antonio in 1975 and expanding its reach.

Some credited the entrepreneur with inventing mass tourism from the UK by both coach and air under the Cosmos Coach, Air, Monarch Airlines and Avro brands, with Avalon Waterways launched in 2004.

A history of the group on the Cosmos website details the company’s history.

An excerpt says: “Beginning In 1974, under the flagship of Sergio Mantegazza, son of Antonio and current president of Globus, the company’s brands began expanding their markets beyond Great Britain. 

“The ‘70s was a big decade for the company, introducing wayfarers to more countries than any other tour operator with packages to Africa, Australia, North and South America, Southeast Asia, Europe and the South Pacific. 

“Also in the early ‘70s, Globus launched its North American company – Group Voyagers – overseeing U.S. tour operations and the American market for the Globus and Cosmos brands.”

Monarch was financed by Globus in 1968 and his son Fabio was chief executive of the airline until the family exited a decade ago, three years prior to its collapse.   

The Globus group of companies consists of more than 30 tourism and aviation businesses, with more than 5,000 staff. The companies’ escorted and independent holidays run almost 10,000 departures and almost 300 different itineraries, covering more than 70 countries on six continents.

According to Forbes, Mantegazza was the 16th richest person in Switzerland, with an estimated net worth of $2.7 billion.

Tributes have been paid on Facebook groups for Cosmos Holidays staff.

G Adventures EMEA managing director Brian Young posted on X (formerly Twitter): “Very sad to be reading posts to say the owner of Globus – Sergio has passed away. He was a pioneer of our industry.”  

A Globus spokesperson said: “Mr Mantegazza was an inspirational and visionary leader who paved the way for the Globus and Cosmos product innovation, market expansion and volume growth over three generations. He will forever remain in our hearts, and an unforgettable part of the Globus family of brands.”

The spokesperson added a private funeral has been held.

Sergio Mantegazza was induced into the British Travel & Hospitality Hall of Fame in 2006.

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