Specialist tour operator Chameleon Worldwide has unveiled plans for significant expansion after operator Intrepid sold its 53% stake in the business.
The operator, which specialises in walking, family and school trips, now plans to introduce two new brands, one of which will be called Adventure Worldwide.
Another brand will also be launched over the next two months to add to its existing brands Walks Worldwide, Families Worldwide and Schools Worldwide.
The operator currently carries less than 10,000 passengers a year.
Managing director Mark Wright admitted the operator’s ownership structure had been under review for the past year since Intrepid formed a strategic partnership with Tui Travel to form the PEAK Adventure Travel Group, which includes 20 adventure travel businesses. PEAK is 60% owned by Tui Travel and 40% owned by Intrepid Travel.
“We have decided the partnership with Intrepid was not right for us. We just wanted to be a fully independent company,” said Wright. “We are now going to grow the business and we are planning significant growth over the coming months and years.”
Intrepid Travel managing director Geoff Manchester said: “Following the creation of the PEAK Adventure Travel Group in 2011, Intrepid Travel no longer had a strategic reason to own shares in Chameleon. We wish the remaining shareholders all the best as they continue to build their businesses.”
Chameleon remains largely direct-sell but sells its products through 40 to 50 specialist independent agents. It now hopes to increase its trade business.
For the past year the business could not join organisations such as the Association of Independent Tour Operators because of its ownership links with Tui. However, it was never sold through Tui Travel agents Thomson and First Choice. “That may have happened further down the line,” added Wright. “We are now looking for more independent agents to work with.”
The company is also looking to expand its distribution globally – the reason for its original tie-up with Intrepid – although has yet to secure any new partners. “The door isn’t closed on that although there are no new partnerships in the pipeline at the moment,” he said.
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