Leading global integrated travel services and hospitality company Stella Group has further expanded its retail agency network in the United Kingdom with the purchase of independent travel agent consortia Global Travel Group PLC.The acquisition of Global should add 1100 agencies to the Stella network, including 650 travel agencies in the Global network.
These 650 agencies are likely to be supplemented in January by 450 independent travel agents from Worldchoice, another leading consortium that Global recently agreed to acquire subject to Worldchoice shareholder approval.
The businesses will become part of Stella Group’s Stella Travel Services UK operation.
Stella Travel Services UK Managing Director Andrew Laurie said the acquisition would cement Stella’s position as a leading player in the large and growing UK travel market.
“The acquisition fits perfectly into our virtual vertically integrated global travel business model and will make Stella UK approximately the same size as Stella Group’s Australian domestic operations,” he said.
“The UK business will now mirror what we have successfully created in Australia and New Zealand, and the Group can capitalise on opportunities provided by our retail distribution network, along with our accommodation and travel products.
“We firmly believe there are significant opportunities and organic growth potential available through the independent sector in the UK.
“Global’s network of franchisees and affiliates, along with the 80 agencies that we already have under the Harvey World Travel brand, has allowed us to create a market-leading travel business in the UK.
“With the recent acquisitions of Travelbag and Travel 2 Travel 4 both performing very well, Stella has made, and continues to make, substantial inroads into the UK market.”
Global Travel Group Chief Executive Andrew Botterill, who along with other senior management will remain with the business, said the Company and all its stakeholders would benefit from Stella’s integrated business model.
“Our franchisees and affiliates will receive a number of benefits from being part of a larger combined group, including greater product buying strength from increased scale and synergies from access to Stella’s world-class wholesale and consolidation platform,” he said.
“Franchisees and affiliates remain the key to the continued success of our business and we will do everything to ensure a streamlined transition into the Stella business.”