The year 2004 marks our 30 year anniversary, and we have a lot to celebrate – thanks to you!
On Jan. 25, 1974, Bill La Macchia and a team of 20 employees started to reshape the travel industry by establishing Funway Holidays as a wholesale division of Travelpower, a retail travel agency.
He established this company because he was frustrated with the level of service he received from travel companies, and wanted to create a different type of tour company - the kind he wanted to do business with when he was an agent. So he created a company that puts customers first, responds to and protects the agent/client relationship, has high integrity to do the right thing and provides a quality product for a good value.
These were the core business tenets for Funway Holidays in 1974 and, 30 years later, remain the core business tenets for all La Macchia's business holdings in The Mark Travel Corporation.
Some highlights we remember and are proud of include:
1979 – Funjet begins selling vacations to Mexico.
1985 – Bill La Macchia receives the key to the city of Las Vegas from Mayor Bill Briar.
1987 – The Mark Travel Corporation is given the first award by the Las Vegas Hotel Motel Association as Tour Operator of the year.
1989 – The Mark Travel Corporation begins operating Southwest Airlines Vacations.
1990 – The Mark Travel Corpoation is chosen to operate the back office operations for United Airlines vacation program.
1992 – Funjet begins service to Europe. Giving back to the Milwaukee community, The Mark Travel Corporation sponsored a Make-A-Wish Casino Night that raises $150,000. The company also assists with health care supplies and services in a relief effort to Miami following Hurricane Andrew. Later, the American Heart Association's Heart Walk becomes the charity of choice for team member participation. For five years The Mark Travel Corporation is the official sponsor and spokesperson for the event, which grew from a $40,000 to a $300,000 annual event.
1993 – The Mark Travel Corporation begins operating US Airways Vacations.
1994 – The Mark Travel Corporation is chosen to operate and market United Vacations.
1995 – Bill La Macchia is appointed by Senator Kohl as Wisconsin state delegate to the White House Conference on Travel and Tourism.
1996 – Mountain Vacations joins The Mark Travel Corporation as an owned brand. A joint venture with The Mark Travel Corporation and MGM Resorts International is formed, MGM Resorts Vacations.
1997 – The Mark Travel Corporation receives the Tour Operator Award of Excellence from Mexico. Mark Travel receives kudos from Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson for creating 150 jobs during expansion and acquisitions.
1998 – The Mark Travel Corporation acquires a charter operator, Hamilton, Miller, Hudson & Fayne Corp. (HMHF Fun Vacations) of Detroit, and Blue Sky Tours of Albuquerque, which specializes in Hawaii. The company also acquires 49 percent minority interest in Canadian-based Conquest Tours, Ltd. The Mark Travel Corporation - International Services begins inbound programs to the United States from more than 30 international countries. Mark Travel is a key sponsor in the American Heart Walk at the Milwaukee Zoo with 250 team members participating, raising $200,000.
1999 – Mark Travel begins expanding into Mexico with the addition of AeroMexico Vacations. Showtime Tours, a sightseeing company in Las Vegas, joins The Mark Travel Corporation. TransGlobal Vacations, a charter company in Minneapolis, is purchased by La Macchia Enterprises. Bill La Macchia is named to Travel Agent magazine's 1999 "Winners Circle."
2001 – The Mark Travel Corporation acquires assets of Adventure Tours USA, Town & Country Tours and Santo Tours and also became the operator for MexSeaSun, the vacation brand for Mexicana Airlines. Mark Travel starts Vegas & More and Showtime Tours airport transfers in Las Vegas. Mark Travel purchases the Audubon Health Care Center in Milwaukee. The building's contents are donated to hospitals and medical clinics in El Salvador, Guatemala and Bhutan. The building is razed and awaits plans for the vacant site.
2002 – Bill La Macchia Jr. receives the Key to the City of Las Vegas by Mayor Goodman. ATA Vacations and Travel Charter joined The Mark Travel Corporation.
2003 – MarkTravel is chosen to operate Midwest Airline Vacations. Bill La Macchia, Jr. accepts the Key to the City from the Mayor of Cancun, Mexico. This is the first tour operator in history to receive this honor due to the nearly 1 million passengers Mark Travel brings to Mexico annually.
With 1,500 team members worldwide, 900 located in Milwaukee including Trisept Solutions and Vacation Together, Mark Travel remains strong and poised to grow into the future.