Rumours that trade-only brand Travel 2 is up for sale are “absolute nonsense”, according to Andrew Botterill, chief executive of parent company Stella Travel Services UK.
Speaking exclusively to Travel Weekly after a long period of shying away from the press, Botterill scotched speculation that the long-haul operator is being touted to rival firms for £5 million.
He claimed Travel 2 would be profitable this year for the first time in 10 years, and revealed plans to focus on business travel and the touring market.
“We’ve seen our market share of the long-haul, tailor-made market slip, but we have recaptured it now in North America and massively increased it in the United Arab Emirates,” said Botterill.
“It has been tough to Australia and New Zealand, but we have seen our ability to tailor-make in places like Thailand really grow.
“We want to expand our market share through more training, education, and continual improvements to our technology and our paperwork.”
Botterill said Travel 2 would continue to sell through agents exclusively. “We remain trade-only and agents appreciate that focus.”
Dubai is a huge opportunity, he said, adding: “We’ve slimmed down the number of partners we work with and the message for us there, and in any destination, is service.”
Botterill said Travel 2 would also focus on business travel. “We are seeing some recovery in that market,” he added. “The thing that’s given us confidence is that we have performed well in a tough market and are getting share back.”
The touring market is also a focus for Travel 2 in coming months. “Experiential travel is a big thing and it’s often complex. Agents really add value,” he said.