S. MIFSUD & SONS LTD – or simply SMS as it is more commonly known – is a family business which owes its origins to Orazio Mifsud who had started his commercial activity around 1860 with offices in East Street, Valletta near the Victoria Gate entrance to the capital in the harbour area. It is interesting to note that Orazio’s business was one of the very few firms in Malta which had a telephone set in 1888 (out of a total of 138 on the island).
A century and a half later the company’s shipping operations are still conducted from the same offices. With such ancestry SMS can boast to be one of the oldest businesses in Malta today. Orazio’s grandson, the late Chev. Comm Silvio Mifsud who was a business partner with his brother Paul, established his own business as shipping agent in 1950, an area in which today SMS still plays a leading role. The company immediately recognised the importance of travel and tourism as being key industries of the island and Chev Mifsud’s son, Neville set up SMS Travel & Tourism which soon became a pioneer in these fields.
As years progressed the company diversified into other interests making SMS an extremely financially healthy conglomerate involved in various other activities including insurance, transportation, property development, English language education and international cruise passenger-handling operations in a number of countries.
Mondial Travel Agency was set up in 1947 by Anthony Degiorgio whose successors have carried forward the business for over six decades. With an initial share-capital equivalent of Euro200, Anthony and his son Charles operated from a tiny office in Valletta whereby they quickly gained a reputation for organising innovative and reliable sea and coach tour programmes for Maltese holidaying in Europe.
Over the years the family business evolved into diversified fields encompassing also tourism, airline representation, insurance, and shipping only to return back to its origins by the late 1980s and thus exclusively concentrate on outbound travel.
Upon taking over the business, the third generation of Degiorgios brought over new ideas which at the time were truly ground-breaking for Malta. New marketing techniques coupled with a revamped range of products and aggressive pricing – especially as regards to group tours and cruise travel substantially increased the size of the travel agency business. Expansion meant the opening of branches in some of Malta’s leading towns as well as the acquisition of smaller competitors making Mondial the largest outbound travel company of the best part of the last two decades.
Recognising the benefits of joining forces both locally but especially overseas, in 2011 SMS and Mondial merged their respective travel business under the umbrella of the Orange Travel Group. This “marriage” brought about the need for rebranding of all formerly Mondial and formerly SMS travel agencies into “smsmondial”. Apart the six sales outlets in Malta, the Orange Travel Group also runs a wholesale travel business on the Island and also operates travel companies in Algiers, Cyprus, Greece, Jordan, Russia, Tunisia, & Turkey.