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VAO 'INTOURIST' EMBARKS ON FIRST JOINT VENTURE WITH MAJOR U.S. TOUR OPERATOR

             VAO 'INTOURIST' EMBARKS ON FIRST JOINT VENTURE
                      WITH MAJOR U.S. TOUR OPERATOR
    NEW YORK, March 31 /PRNewswire/ -- In a far-reaching and precedent- setting move, the world's largest travel company, VAO 'Intourist' announced that it has purchased a 75 percent interest in the Florida- based Rahim Travel Company, thereby finally enabling the Russian company to compete in the lucrative U.S. travel market.
    The move is historic in that it finally allows Intourist, the oldest and leading travel company in Russia, to package tours between the U.S. and the commonwealth of Independent States.  The new company will continue to operate under the Rahim Tours name.
    Intourist broke off from the USSR State Committee for Foreign Travel to become an independent travel company in 1990.
    On Feb. 7, 1992, the head office of the State Committee for Foreign Travel was finally dissolved and ceased to operate, leaving all its former enterprises, such as hotels, motor transport pools and others, completely independent entities.
    The deal between Intourist and Rahim Tours is also the first joint venture of Intourist in the U.S.  And unlike previous deals between East and West, this one is unique in that it is the Russian company that is purchasing an American partner.
    "We were looking for a sizable, aggressive, high-quality Russian specialist for a long time," said Malinin, who headed the negotiating team.  "After a long and thorough search, we all agreed that Rahim Tours was the partner we wanted for this historic venture.  Few companies have the know-how, professionalism and potential for growth that Rahim Tours has."
    In its new guise, Intourist-owned Rahim Tours will be able to offer tour operators and travel agents a more varied and diversified product for both the individual and group market.  It will also broaden the scope by offering tours to neighboring countries of the commonwealth, including Finland, Poland, Hungary, Mongolia, India, China and others.
    In addition to tapping the flow of travelers from West to East, the agreement means that Rahim Tours will begin operating a new, inbound department to cater to the needs of the ever-growing number of tourists from the C.I.S.
    Rahim Tours is located at 12 South Dixie Highway, Lake Worth, Fla., 33460, Telephone: 407-585-5305; Fax: 407-582-1353.
    -0-                     3/31/92
    /CONTACT:  Kelly Durcan or Susan Wrubel of VAO 'Intourist,' 212-245-7300/ CO:  VAO 'Intourist'; Rahim Travel Company ST:  Florida IN:  LEI SU:  TNM SM-KW -- NY022 -- 3258 03/31/92 09:19 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 31, 1992
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