Background

Bellevue Square 1906
Zurich, Switzerland

In 1906, Alfred Kuoni, a native Swiss, opened his first travel agency at Zurich's Bellevue Square. As modest as the beginnings were, the pace was rapid: in 1925 Kuoni had several Swiss travel branches and a branch in Nice, France. In addition to holiday trips, the first destination management services were also offered at this time. Kuoni was one of the pioneers among European travel providers. In 1957 the Kuoni and Hugentobler Foundation was established. In 1963, Kuoni declared its market global and opened its first travel agency in Japan.

By 2014, the Kuoni Travel Holding Ltd (Kuoni Group) had grown into an international company with almost 12,000 full-time employees and business activities in 120 countries. The Kuoni Group realigned its strategy in 2015. In the wake of the far-reaching changes in the global travel industry, the traditional tour operator businesses were sold. These activities are still being operated under the Kuoni brand by new owners, particularly in Europe. In 2016, the Kuoni Group was acquired by EQT, a leading global investment firm headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden. EQT funds have invested in portfolio companies in Europe, Asia and North America with the current portfolio companies generating total sales of approximately EUR 19 billion and employing approximately 110,000 people. In 2017 the Kuoni Group sold the B2B travel service businesses. Thus, the visa services provider, VFS Global today represents the single core of Kuoni Travel Holding Ltd. As a natural consequence Kuoni Travel Holding Ltd was merged into VFS Global.

Consequently, VFS Global, the world’s leading outsourcing and technology services specialist for governments and diplomatic missions worldwide was developed independently. The company is headquartered in Dubai, UAE, and has been, since inception, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Kuoni Travel Holding Ltd, headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, and is a portfolio company of EQT. To reflect the success and importance of VFS Global, Kuoni Travel Holding Ltd has merged its activities into VFS Global Investments Ltd in June 2018. The Swiss-based Kuoni and Hugentobler Foundation, established in 1957, still has a stake in VFS Global.