Two major Utah travel industry companies have announced that they are merging. Morris Murdock Travel of Salt Lake City and Columbus Travel of Bountiful said they are becoming one “to strengthen and enhance travel programs and opportunities available to the traveling public.” The merger will create the largest seller of leisure, vacation, cruise, escorted tours, meetings and incentive travel in Utah and the Intermountain area, leaders of the two companies said.

Both Morris Murdock and Columbus offer vacation and family travel and escorted tours to domestic and international destinations. Additionally, Morris Murdock operates Black Pearl Luxury Services. Morris Meetings & Incentives, a division of Morris Murdock Travel, specializes in incentive, award and meeting travel. The incentive travel departments of MMI and Columbus will be combined, the companies said.

“We are excited to combine the strengths of both companies and offer the traveling public and companies increased value and more destinations and travel options,” said Brian Hollien, president of Morris Murdock.

Hollien will serve as president of the combined travel company. Mark Faldmo, president of Columbus Travel, echoed Hollien’s statement. “We have always had a great respect for Morris Murdock Travel and are looking forward to combining the strengths of both companies to enhance the travel experience of our clients,” he said.

Morris Murdock has offices in Salt Lake City, Draper, Provo/Orem, St. George, Ogden and Billings, Montana. Columbus Travel is headquartered in Bountiful. The gross bookings for Columbus Travel, Morris Murdock and Morris Murdock affiliates in Florida and Arizona were in excess of $170 million in 2019.

“Our merger is motivated by opportunity,” said Hollien. “Combining the talent and knowledge of our travel experts with the increased buying power we will have with vendors and travel suppliers, will create new and exciting travel opportunities and better value for our customers and employees alike.”

“Travel is coming back strong. Combining the strengths and buying power of Morris Murdock and Columbus is a big win for travelers,” said Columbus Travel CEO Larry Gelwix, known as the “Getaway Guru” and host of the syndicated “Travel Show” radio broadcast. “Travelers will see more travel options, greater value and more special pricing, deals and opportunities.” Gelwix and Faldmo will serve as officers with the combined company. Both companies will continue to operate for the time being under their own names. The merger is expected to close later this year.

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