Comment: Bath Travel buyout signals end of era

Comment: Bath Travel buyout signals end of era

Last week’s sale of Bath Travel signalled the end of an era in travel.

One of the most notable independent agencies in the business, it broke the mould by taking risks such as chartering Concorde and running its own charter airline, Palmair.

It also became infamous for shunning the internet, its joint managing director once saying he would rather invest in new carpets than in a website.

Bath Travel built its business on service to a loyal clientele in the south of England. So it is fitting that it has been bought by Hays Travel, a company with a similar ethos about service, customer loyalty and its role within its community.

This would suggest those Bath principles won’t have to change, although it seems inconceivable that John Hays will not want to extend his successful combination of multi-channel retailing, often driven by ruthless commercial negotiating and technology, to his new business.

New tourism minister

A warm welcome to new tourism minister Helen Grant, the first black woman in the role. I hope she will forgive me if the enthusiasm ends there.

Grant is the third tourism minister in 14 months and her appointment one of four changes to ministers with whom the industry has relations.

Worse, tourism has been downgraded again as a ministerial responsibility.

Not only will Grant oversee sport and the Olympic legacy, but also equalities. Tourism wasn’t even mentioned in the official notification.

Grant is a lawyer with a strong interest in family law. The sector must make her an equally strong advocate of travel.

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