Scotland’s largest independent travel group, Barrhead Travel is being bought by one of North America’s largest travel companies

US-based Travel Leaders Group has reached an agreement to acquire the Glasgow-based group. Around a third of Barrhead’s overall business is dedicated to cruise sales. In 2016, it had a turnover of £279million, of which cruise made up £100 million. Overall turnover was up by 12.7million from the year before. The terms of sale, which includes sale of its 64 UK outlets, has not been disclosed.

With more than 900 employees and agents, Barrhead will now become part of the US-travel giant’s growing presence in the UK.

Barrhead said it would retain its brand identify within the Travel Leaders UK portfolio. Chief executive Sharon Munro will continue to manage the business, meanwhile her father and Barrhead founder Bill Munro, will stay on, serving a strategic advisory role as chairman of the Barrhead Division within Travel Leaders Group. No major changes to operations are expected.

“Joining the Travel Leaders Group will give us the resources to expand into additional markets, access to new technology and the ability to innovate,” said Munro. “This agreement creates exciting new prospects for both our enterprises.”

Travel Leaders Group chief executive, Ninan Chacko, said that Barrhead’s cadre of highly-trained travel professionals meant it had become a leader in multi-channel sales in cruise vacations and business travel.

Once the transaction is complete – expected to be sometime towards the end of March, Barrhead will join Travel Leaders’ UK portfolio, which includes Colletts Travel, Protravel International UK and Tzell UK, which are among the UK’s leading travel companies. Combined, these companies along with ALTOUR UK, and its recent merger with Travel Leaders, means the company will rank among the top travel management companies in the UK.

Barrhead was founded in 1975, from a traditional bucket and spade travel agents to a multi-faceted travel group.

In a statement, Travel Leaders Group said Barrhead would “retain its distinct brand identity” within Travel’s UK portfolio. The US company added that no major changes in operations were anticipated.

Ms Munro said: “Joining with Travel Leaders Group will give us the resources to expand into additional markets, access to new technology and the ability to innovate. This agreement creates exciting new prospects for both our enterprises.”

Travel Leaders Group chief executive Ninan Chacko added: “Barrhead is a great addition to our family of brands.

“It’s an innovative, award-winning travel business that is on a trajectory for continued growth.”

It has 64 outlets in the UK, including travel agency stores and contact centres, booking over 300,000 people on holiday each year.

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