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Virgin Holidays buys Bales Worldwide

Virgin Holidays buys Bales Worldwide

Luxury tour operator Bales Worldwide has been bought out by Virgin Holidays for an undisclosed sum.

The family-run business is one of the UK’s oldest tour operators. It was started in 1947 by George Bales offering upmarket tours, which now span globally.

It is currently run by his daughter, Mandy Nickerson, who will remain as managing director after the take-over.

Bales also confirmed that there would be no changes to the Bales team, and that it would retain its name.

On announcing the deal, Mandy Nickerson said: “Teaming up with Virgin opens a new chapter for us and one which I am really excited about.”


“Our news puts Bales alongside a widely respected name in the world of travel and at the same time enables us to keep all the things we love about Bales.

“I will be remaining as managing director and will continue to be involved in all aspects of the operation,” she added.

Virgin Holidays, Managing Director, Amanda Wills, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Mandy Nickerson and the Bales Worldwide team into the Virgin Holidays’ family.

“Bales Worldwide adds even more tailor-made and escorted long-haul adventures to a stable that offers Virgin Holidays Cruises, budget Florida with Travel City Direct and luxury, bespoke adventures through our partnership with HIP Hotels.”