Domestic small-groups operator Rabbie’s is claiming record first quarter sales with bookings through agents up by a quarter.

A strengthening relationship with the trade saw business through retailers rise by 27% compared to the same time last year.

Higher levels of inbound business from long-haul destinations also contributed to growth levels.

The number of Canadian clients rose 27%, with Australia up 17% and the US up 15%.

Top performing trips include a three-day Leeds Castle, White Cliffs and Flavours of Kent tour, an Oxford and Cotswolds day tour and whisky-themed tours around Scotland.

Tours from London rose 94% and Inverness-based business increased by 45%.

A Chinese-language Loch Ness tour saw a ten-fold increase in customers compared with the same three-month period in 2018.

Company founder and CEO Robin Worsnop said: “Our revenue overall is up 20% on the same period last year, which is good growth.

“We’ve increased our capacity and marketing to attract more customers from our long-haul markets and this is reaping rewards. Our authentic small group experiences are proving popular with our target markets.  

“Visitors from further afield are much more likely to stay in the UK for a longer period, which means they want to explore.

“Our small-group tours of between one and 17 days offer a really immersive experience with expert guides. We’re also very excited about the launch of new tours from Manchester and Aberdeen in May this year.”