Barrhead Travel has confirmed plans to invest £3.5 million over five years on a new “experience store” in Edinburgh.

The outlet at Fort Kinnaird Retail Park is due to open in mid-2018.

The latest opening was unveiled as Barrhead revealed plans for three new store openings in the first half of the year as part of a continued drive to expand its footprint across the country.

The new store will create 16 new jobs in the local area and will be the fifth Barrhead Travel agency in the Edinburgh area.

Dedicated cruise and long-haul areas will be included as well as a foreign currency unit. The positioning of the store will be close to M&S, Primark and TKMaxx.

The store will be open seven days a week and until 10pm on weekdays.

Scotland’s largest independent travel agent is investing millions of pounds on new store launches across the UK covering shop fit outs, staffing, technology, training, IT and support.

The plans follow other store openings in the last 18 months, the most recent of which was in Victoria Square Shopping Centre, Belfast, in December.

The expansion by Scotland’s largest independent travel agency group is needed as the number of customers booking holidays in its stores continued to rise.

The rapid growth of Barrhead Travel bucks the travel industry trend following the recent closures of other high street travel agents.

Chairman Bill Munro said: “We are absolutely thrilled to announce the new store opening in Fort Kinnaird Retail Park. We know more and more customers are booking in store because they want the expertise of our specialists.

“We really look forward to welcoming both returning and new customers to our new location.

“Holidays are an emotional purchase and customers want to feel they are getting the best possible value for money, sound advice from genuine specialists and to know that their holidays are fully financially protected.”

Barrhead Travel expanded into England in 2015 with a store in Eldon Square, Newcastle, followed by Highcross Shopping Centre, Leicester. Its network of stores, call centres and offices is over 70.

The company employs more than 1,000 people and is recruiting throughout the UK for experienced sales consultants, team leaders and managers.