The owner of trade-friendly Alfa Travel and Leisureplex hotels has acquired the David Urquhart Coach Travel brand and database for an undisclosed sum.

In addition to its coach holiday brands, Alfa Leisureplex Group (ALG) also owns 22 Leisureplex hotels in popular coastal destinations across the UK.

Employee-owned ALG intends to take advantage of the post-Covid 19 rise in staycations by focusing purely on the domestic UK and Irish coach holiday and self-drive break markets in 2021.

David Urquhart Travel announced the winding up of its coach tour operation in May as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

ALG secured a £17 million credit facility, including a £5 million Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme loan from Lloyds Bank in June.

Managing director Emma Russell said: “We are delighted to be able to announce that ALG will be bringing the iconic, David Urquhart name back and to be able to welcome some of the former team back as employee owners.

“David Urquhart Travel fits perfectly into our expansion plan, as the heartlands of David Urquhart Travel are in areas where Alfa Travel does not currently pick up.

“We have been welcoming David Urquhart customers to our Leisureplex hotels for many years, so we know that the David Urquhart Travel customers enjoy our Leisureplex Hotels, where our fantastic employee owners go that extra mile to make memories for our guests.

“Whilst David Urquhart has always been recognised as direct-sell brand, the group are keen to develop relationships with agents once the 2021 programme is on sale.”

Alfa Travel has also extended its reach in the south of England for 2021 with the introduction of a new departure region and interchange at South Mimms to complement its existing Reading operation.

This has seen the operator introduce new pick-up points to its programme, includin the Midlands, south and Yorkshire at the request of customers and travel agents.

Russell added: “At the start of the year, we had already announced to our employee owners that our strategy was to expand our southern England network and we took the decision to concentrate on the UK and Ireland from a destination perspective.

“I am very pleased that even in these unprecedented times that we have been able to not only achieve this, but also to grow our third party hotel partner relationships to support further expansion of our programme and to extend our geographical reach across the UK. We are also introducing a brand new range of weekend breaks in 2021”.

Alfa Travel took the decision to refund customers from the outset of the pandemic.

The company believes that this has been instrumental in helping it retain and grow both direct and travel trade sales during the crisis.

Additionally, Alfa Travel products are bonded by Abta, providing financial protection on self-drive accommodation breaks as well as coach holidays.

Russell said: “Everyone at Alfa would like to extend their heartfelt thanks to all of our incredible travel agent partners for their support over the last few months.

“Our new 2021 Alfa Travel brochures will be arriving with agents shortly, with our low deposit of offer of only £25 per person continuing to run until 31 October.”

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