Creating Memorable Catholic Pilgrimages for Over Six Decades

Mr. Richard DeJudicibus – New York
Captain Ted Langton of London
Mr. Leo Roupioz of Paris

1957 - The Unitours family of brands is founded as a partnership between three men:

Richard DeJudicibus (fondly known as Mr. Day), born in Brooklyn, NY on August 30, 1924, his Italian father, employed by "Banco di Napoli", is transferred to NY in 1919. His mother is born in Brooklyn by Italian Immigrant parents. In 1930, Richard’s father was posted to Milan and the family moved back to Italy and from there they continued to move every 3 years or so, including stays in Turin and Tripoli, Libya. His longest and most formative years were spent in Milan where he spent the war as an American citizen with his formal education by the Salesian fathers.He returned to NY right after WWII and started working in the travel business, first as a steward for Caribbean Airlines, flying across the Atlantic on a regular basis, followed by some time with other travel companies, eventually joining American Express Travel.

In 1957, Captain Ted Langton gave Leo Roupioz and Richard each $10,000, to open an office in Paris and New York and follow his lead in offering group travel experiences. Each of the companies was called "Universal Travel" – but the name was already taken in US, thus the name "Unitours" was born.

Captain Langton subsequently retired, leaving Richard and Leo with the companies, including Captain Langton’s London office. Over time, other offices were opened in Tel Aviv, Athens, and Rome. The financial and operations headquarters became Lucerne, Switzerland. Leo and Richard would go on to build a travel company that at one point was sending passengers to nearly all the significant destinations on earth and in the process made them extremely successful. But more importantly they also built a friendship and a bond that withstood the test of time.

Over the years, the financial connections to the various worldwide offices were disengaged but the relationships have continued, often with the second-generation managements of those companies.

1970 - The main focus of Unitours in New York was tours to Israel for the large Jewish organizations such as Hadassah and American Jewish Congress. Because of this, a Unitours office in Tel Aviv was opened.

Richard greeting Pope John Paul II in Rome

1980 - Richard attends a large delegation of Americans and Israelis at the Vatican and meets His Holiness Pope John Paul II, a day he fondly remembered throughout his life.

An icon in the travel industry, Richard was contacted frequently by industry leaders around the world who called upon him for advice and counsel. He was a founding member of the prestigious United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA)

1990 - In a providential meeting, Richard meets Bob Faucett, who with his wife Carol Ann had been full time lay ministers in the Catholic Church, traveling throughout the U.S. offering parish missions. To help support that ministry, and feed their love of travel, they began organizing and hosting Catholic pilgrimages since 1984 with some of the many priests they met in their travels. As this ministry grew and they began marketing tours through the company from whom they had originally bought their own tours. That company went bankrupt in 1990. Bob soon began investigating other tour companies with whom they could work with. At that same time Richard was moving out of the American Jewish business. In their first years as a team, Bob was able to generate enough business in the American Roman Catholic market to change the entire focus of the company, migrating almost exclusively to the Catholic Pilgrimage market.

1992 - Unitours handled the largest single group of American Roman Catholic pilgrims to visit the Holy Land. The group included 20 buses, over 1,000 pilgrims, and all in one hotel!

1993 - Rita and Lew Goody, a pair of pilgrims from that same pilgrimage joined Unitours as the start of Bob’s sales force. They remained active into their mid-eighties!

Richard receives award from PM Rabin

1995 - Richard sent so many groups to Israel that in 1995, he received the prestigious Peace Tourism Year Award personally from Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin prior to his assassination later that year.

Richard liked to say that he had “taken more Jews to Israel than Moses”! He would further joke that as an Italian Catholic, he never understood it.

Fabrizio Fabbri, Richard and Bob Faucett

1998 - Richard and Bob are joined by Fabrizio Fabbri, who had represented Alitalia Airlines to Unitours, and he quickly rose in our management team. As an Italian born American, Fabrizio had contacts that allowed a new "Cultural Fabrizio Fabbri, Richard and Bob Heritage" niche for Unitours sending Italian Americans on very specialized trips to Italy

2005, Richard makes Fabrizio and Bob partners in the company and steps up to the role of “Chairman Emeritus”, handing off the role of President and day to day management to Fabrizio, who continues to manage the operations side of the company to this day, while Bob continues to handle the sales and marketing side

2009 – Richard DeJudicibus passes away, leaving a very healthy company and Fabrizio, Bob and Richard’s family to continue ownership and management with the same philosophy Richard started the company with. Richard’s daughter, Pat Thrane, leads the operations of our office staff. The company includes four departments; Sales and Marketing, managed by Bob with a contract sales staff of nearly twenty representatives throughout the U.S. Operations, under the direction of Marianna Pisano, which is responsible for implementing the details of our pilgrimages, interacting with the pilgrimage hosts, pilgrims and our overseas partners who book the hotels, arrange the coach buses, guides, etc. Our Air Department works diligently with all of our airline partners obtaining group quotes, confirming air seats and eventual pre-departure ticketing. Finally, our Accounting department assures accurate financial records, payment of invoices and issuing host benefit and commission checks.

Fabrizio and Bob are both extremely proud to be at the helm, continuing the Unitours legacy created by industry giants. Without a doubt, the most impressive legacy Richard left was the corporate culture that continues on at Unitiours. That culture has three stalwart foundations.

1. Do the right thing. If something goes amiss, the policy is to fix it even if it costs the company money. If someone in the family makes a mistake, the question is never "who did it" or "why", it is "fix it". The company has everyone’s back.

2. Honesty. When any of the worldwide Unitours’ family speaks listeners can be confident that there is no hidden agenda. What is said, is what is meant. It is the Unitours’ way. "No. B.S".

3. Only do business with friends. Our focus is to have friendly, honest relationships with each and every person and company with whom we do business. This includes employees, both salaried and contracted, vendors including overseas partners, airlines and customers. If we detect that we are being treated by any of these constituencies with a lack of respect or honesty, we immediately sever the relationship even if it means refunding deposits and canceling a trip.

Because of the high quality of its product, its financial security and our willingness to invest marketing funds, Unitours became and remains the most successful and respected Catholic tour companies in the world.

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