The head of Saga’s travel divisions has confirmed there are no immediate plans to sell its Titan and Destinology brands.
There had been speculation the over-50s had hired financial advisory firm Duff & Phelps explore the possible sale of the two travel brands earlier in the year.
Titan Travel, an escorted touring brand, and Destinology, an online luxury tour operator, are two of Saga’s four travel brands. It also operates Saga Cruises and Saga Holidays.
Speaking to Travel Weekly on board Saga’s new cruise ship, Spirit of Discovery, on Wednesday, Saga Travel chief executive Robin Shaw said: “At this moment in time there are no plans to do anything. All businesses, including ours, review their strategies, but at this point in time they are staying with us.”
Last month, group chief executive Lance Bachelor announced he was stepping down in January after shares in the group dropped by almost 40% in April following a profit warning.
Shaw said the process to recruit a replacement, which is being led by the chairman and non-executive directors, was “ongoing”.
Maria Whiteman, managing director of Saga Holidays, is to step down from the business at the end of August.
Shaw said: “We are in the process of deciding who we’re going to work with to find a replacement,” and hinted the role could be filled internally.
Commenting on the current trading environment, Shaw remained upbeat.
“We’re in unprecedented times in the UK with Brexit and all the political uncertainty,” he said. “That does not help confidence which does not help travel booking, especially to short-haul European destinations.
“But over the years travel is quite resilient, over the long term it tends to grow. Within that, the cruise market grows at a faster rate.
“So it’s a difficult period for the UK economy, but the propensity for travel will remain and grow and particularly in our demographic, which is more willing and wanting to travel than ever before, so on that basis I think the medium term for land and cruise is quite buoyant.”
Saga’s first new-build ship, Spirit of Discovery, hosted a trade preview sailing this week and will be christened on Friday by the Duchess of Cornwall in Dover.
A second new-build ship Spirit of Adventure will launch next year, with both vessels replacing Saga Pearl and Saga Sapphire.
Shaw did not rule out more new ships in the future. “It will be dependent upon making sure we generate enough demand at the right rate,” Shaw said. “If that’s the case then of course we’d consider it, but nothing is going to happen for a number of years yet.”
Gallery: Spirit of Discover preview sailing
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