Travelsphere and Just You will be working far closer with the trade under new owners G Adventures, founder Bruce Poon Tip has pledged.
The G Adventures boss said trade relationships represented the “greatest opportunity” for the brands acquired from administrators Grant Thornton. Former parent company All Leisure Group ceased trading on January 4.
Speaking from Travelsphere and Just You’s Market Harborough offices, Poon Tip said: “The UK travel industry has been very supportive of us. One of the greatest opportunities for us is partnerships in the retail side. Travel agents will definitely be hearing more from us.”
Both brands have preferred partnerships in place with “most agents” but these relationships were not pushed under previous management, with 90% of bookings still direct-sell, he said.
“I don’t think they properly supported it; we will change that. I think in the past, leadership and ownership believed in the direct model,” he added.
But for now, it is “business as usual” for staff and customers. Poon Tip reassured the tour operators’ 200 employees that no changes were planned in terms of jobs, brands or the company’s location.
“These are well respected brands. They are profitable and they are growing. It’s very positive and we are very excited. It’s not like when you buy a distressed company,” he said.
He described the brands as a “perfect fit” for the G Adventures Group. The group was the front-runner in an aggressive bidding war to buy the brands since November, he added.
Poon Tip said the group had been attracted by the brands because of their strong legacy and complimentary product range.
“Travelsphere has a 50 year heritage, which is really important to us. It has a completely different demographic and product style so it compliments us. Just You is a very unique product,” he said.
The businesses would compliment each other as G Adventures has a strong worldwide distribution base, which could help expand Travelsphere and Just You’s sales outside of the UK market, he added.
Together the combined group now has just over 2,500 employees and will be a $600 million turnover business.
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