Escorted tours and hotels group Shearings increased profits by 8% to £4.1 million in 2009.


The group said the relaunch of its 49-strong portfolio of UK hotels under the Coast and Country, and Bay Hotel brands was largely responsible for the enhanced performance of the group.


During the year, the division sold two million bed-nights and achieved an average occupancy rate of 83% following a £10 million improvement programme.


Chief executive Denis Wormwell said: “We all know tourism had a tough year in 2009, but our continued focus on great value, high-quality products in popular locations has helped us to demonstrate the resilience of our target markets and the widening appeal of our brands.


“The board is particularly pleased with progress of the hotels division, where our newly launched brands have made a tremendous impact.


“We see a significant opportunity here over the coming year to expand our presence in this market and further drive the division’s revenue and profit performance.


“We’re also committed to launching new and innovative products for our growing number of younger, more independent travellers, many of whom are experiencing the Shearings brand for the first time.”


In the group’s holidays division, which includes the Shearings, National and Caledonian brands, sales were similar to 2008 but escorted tours to UK locations recorded double-digit growth.


And sales of its recently launched river and ocean cruise programme are reportedly going well with new product launches planned for the coming year in new European locations.


In total, the group sold 640,000 holidays during the 12-month period. Revenue was £180.4 million, down from £183.7 million in 2008.


The group recently denied reports that its owners private equity firm 3i were considering putting it up for sale