USTravel, the largest travel agency in Alaska, has been sold to Corporate Travel Management of Brisbane, Australia. The sale price has not been disclosed.
Corporate Travel Management, though based in Brisbane, has a global presence with offices in 26 cities in 15 countries.
While USTravel is based in Anchorage, the company has a strong presence in the Pacific Northwest, with offices in Seattle, Portland and Spokane.
USTravel's founder, Mark Eliason, died last September. Since then, his wife Linda Eliason has assumed leadership of the company.
"The opportunity to become a part of the wonderful team that CTM has built will allow USTravel to enhance our product and service offering to our many clients," Linda Eliason said in a press release.
"Mark had discussed collaborating with CTM before," said Elizabeth Nerland, USTravel's director of marketing. "So after Mark died, Linda kept the conversation going."
"The two companies have complementary cultures," said Nerland. Both USTravel and CTM work extensively with oil, gas and mining companies. In addition, both companies offer services to government travelers. USTravel is the agency of record for the State of Alaska.
Linda Eliason will continue as president of the company. USTravel's Julie Crotts, based in Seattle, will be the CEO.
"USTravel is an important part of the travel landscape in Alaska," wrote Joe Sprague, Alaska Airlines' senior vice president for communications and external affairs. "We hope the new owners (CTM) will recognize that. Alaska Airlines applauds Linda and the USTravel team for carrying on Mark's focus and providing their customers with excellent service."
According to CTM's website, the company employs 1,300 staffers worldwide. The company is one of Australia's largest travel management companies and is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.
"For travelers, nothing will change," said Nerland. "All of USTravel's divisions, including Explore Tours and Visions Meeting Experts, are included in the sale. I think they want a year to work on how to move forward and establish the CTM brand."
An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that Seattle will become CTM’s regional headquarters for the Pacific Northwest.
By SCOTT McMURREN
For Alaska Dispatch