One of the most trusted names in all-inclusive, active and culturally rewarding vacations announced today that it is expanding its operations into Europe.
Dan Austin and Paul Lehman, founders and partners of Austin-Lehman Adventures, revealed that their company has acquired a time-tested cycling tours veteran. The company is Euro-Bike & Walking Tours with a 34-year track record of successfully providing active and adventurous vacations throughout Europe. The formal closing for the purchase will occur on November 3, 2008.
“By acquiring Euro-Bike & Walking Tours and its well-established operation and excellent reputation, we are expanding our destination offerings by 30 percent and giving clients the opportunity to travel with Austin-Lehman Adventures to Italy, France, Holland, Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic,” says Austin.
This purchase means that Austin-Lehman Adventures will now have bases of operation on four continents: Europe, Africa, North and South America.
The Austin-Lehman Adventures forte is to give guests a comprehensive and authentic insider’s view of regions visited. The new European programs will remain primarily cycling and cultural. Traditionally Austin-Lehman Adventures has featured multi-activity trips with activities like biking, hiking, sea kayaking and white water rafting.
“Our programs are about the luxury of learning, stimulating activity and the tender loving care we lavish on our guests,” says Lehman.
To assure that its new European programs will continue this Austin-Lehman Adventures tradition, Ron van Dijk, the second-generation Director of Operations for Euro-Bike, has joined the Austin-Lehman Adventures team, bringing 34 years of experience in small group European cycle touring to the table.
“By having Ron continue in his role of heading up European operations, we gain decades of regional experience,” says Austin. This acquisition adds 26 new programs to ALA’s existing 40.
Austin says that the integrity of Euro-Bike’s core product is already aligned with that of Austin-Lehman Adventures.
“Ron will mostly be focusing on adding the extra touches, the ‘WOWs’ which make our exceptional customer service really stand out,” Austin says. “The major factors that are making this transaction possible are the existing similarities between our two companies. These similarities especially include our joint passion for providing service and learning opportunities and ‘behind the scenes’ access, as well as our passion for flawless planning.”
“We are thrilled to keep the legacy we’ve built alive and vibrant for years to come by joining the Austin-Lehman Adventures family,” says van Dijk. He notes that Kathy Guyer Euro-Bike’s head of U.S. sales based in DeKalb, Illinois, will be relocating to the Austin-Lehman Adventures’ office in Billings, Montana, “so we won’t miss a beat in providing trip expertise and in-depth regional knowledge.”
In the coming year the European cycling trips will embrace Austin-Lehman Adventures’ 6 guests to one guide ratio that has set a high industry standard. As Austin-Lehman Adventures becomes more established in Europe, the owners anticipate adding more multi-activity trips.
This is the second time in eight years that Austin-Lehman Adventures has grown through acquisition. In 2000 the company acquired Backcountry Tours, combining it with Adventures Plus to create Austin-Lehman Adventures.
Austin-Lehman Adventures manages all of the arrangements for its selected destinations that include iconic regions of North, Central and South America as well as southern Africa and now Europe. Small groups are limited to 12 guests (18 on family departures). Rates include first-class accommodations, most meals and beverages, expert guides, park entry fees, multisport activities such as hiking, biking, rafting, horseback riding and more, ground transportation and luggage service. Not included is round trip travel to the host city.