Opodo launches Italy operation

Opodo, the online travel outfit majority owned my technology company Amadeus, has unveiled a website for the Italian market in a bid to spread its empire across Europe.

The launch of Opodo.it is the first major foray into the Italian market for Opodo following its acquisition of online travel company Eviaggi in February 2005.

The move is part of what the company calls an “aggressive” strategy to expand into new markets in Europe since Amadeus increased its controlling stake in the company last March to 75.4%.

Opodo has pointed to growth forecasts of £892m for the Italian online travel market by 2006.

Chief executive of Opodo, Simon Vincent, said: “The launch of the Opodo site in Italy is in line with our aggressive growth strategy which over the last year has seen us move from operating in three markets to having a presence in nine markets, grow from 250 staff to over 800, more than double in size to €1bn gross sales and move into the tour operating business via the purchases of Quest Travel in the UK and Karavel in France.”

Opodo now operates in nine markets including the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Sweden.

Country manager for Opodo Italy, Roberto Riccio, said: “We launch with an incredible range of offers from 500 airlines, more than 65,000 hotels, car rentals, cruises and more than 17,000 package holidays.

“We will continually seek to enhance our service over time, with a series of additional products specifically personalised to meet the needs of the Italian consumer.”

National carriers Aer Lingus, Air France, Alitalia, Austrian Airlines, British Airways, Finnair, Iberia, KLM and Lufthansa are still shareholders in the company.

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