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5 2


Retailers positive about peak sales


Juliet Dennis juliet.dennis@travelweekly.co.uk


Retailers are reporting strong peak season sales despite playing “catch-up” due to a sluggish start.


The trade blamed the timing


of Christmas and New Year bank holidays and continuing Brexit concerns for the slow start to 2018. Alistair Rowland, group general manager of specialist retail for The Midcounties Co-operative, said: “The market was always going to be tough this year because of the way the bank holidays fell, so most retailers will be playing catch-up. “But it looks like this week will


cover the shortfall and sales will be level by the end of this week and 5% up by the end of month.” Spear Travels managing director


Peter Cookson blamed Brexit uncertainty but said sales were at last picking up. “Monday and Tuesday this week finally showed some promise, although we are still down on last year,” he added. Sales across Advantage Travel Partnership members last week


There are more searches for all-inclusive holidays


were ahead on last year, according to head of commercial John Sullivan. He said he expected sales to pick up as the month goes on. But Carolyn Park, director of C


The World, said peaks business had been busier than usual. “The rush started on January 1 – two weeks earlier than usual,” she said. Similarly, operators reported


strong sales. Carrier has enjoyed its strongest-ever start to peaks, with a record 68% year-on-year rise in sales for the first week in January, while Olympic Holidays has reported one of its busiest turn-of-year booking periods of recent years. Deals site Icelolly.com said


searches for all-inclusive or half- board holidays were up a third on last year, and more than 40% of users were looking at four-star resorts. Data analytics firm Beyond


Analysis, which takes information from Travelport’s GDS, reported a 35% increase in bookings this month up to January 8 compared with last year. Meanwhile, Tui is returning


to Tunisia for the first time this summer since the Sousse massacre in 2015.


Botterill returns to ‘buy and build’


Lucy Huxley lucy.huxley@travelweekly.co.uk


Andrew Botterill is returning to travel with a majority stake in Travcorp Holdings at which he aims to build a portfolio of diverse UK travel businesses through acquisition.


Describing it as a “buy and


build opportunity”, Botterill has invested in the parent company of OTA Holidaygems.co.uk and B2C luxury long-haul tour operator, Destination2.co.uk. Both are run by managing director Jason Edwards, and former dnata-owned Travelbag managing director Tony Carty, who joined Travcorp Holdings in July last year. Botterill, former chief executive of dnata Travel Europe, and prior to that Stella Travel Services UK and The Global Travel Group, will join Travcorp Holdings on February 1 as chairman and investor. He revealed trade-facing business are top of his shopping list and said touring was a sector of interest. Speaking exclusively to Travel


Weekly, Botterill said: “I’ve been looking at options for a strong plat- form to capitalise on the opportu-


nity that I believe exists to build a diverse group of UK travel assets. “I am looking forward to sourcing the funding for the project and making sure that we have the right partner, be that private equity or the trade. The conversations I have had so far have been extremely positive, including opportunities for JVs and partnerships.” Botterill said the businesses he


was looking to acquire would likely be trade-friendly. “My history is in the trade. Agents are close to my heart, so I don’t think the desire to be involved with the trade is going to ever go away,” he said. Botterill said Holidaygems and Destination2 employed 70 staff in Stockport and Chester. Travcorp Holdings also employs about 20 homeworkers in Spain and Turkey. Edwards, a former Global


Travel Group director, started Holidaygems when the consortium was bought by Stella Travel Services in 2007. He set up Destination2 two years ago and brought Carty in to accelerate its growth. Holidaygems turns over about £40 million while Destination2 booked 100,000 bednights in 2017, predominantly in the Middle East, Indian Ocean and Asia.


11 January 2018 travelweekly.co.uk 5 3


Andrew Botterill: ‘Agents are close to my heart’


STORIES HOT

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