New coach operator Tartan Travel keen to work with the trade

A start-up coach operator is looking to work with travel agents selling tours out of Scotland.

Tartan Travel has been set up by a team of six staff who worked for the former Scottish coach tour operator Caledonian Travel, part of Specialist Leisure Group which collapsed in May, including the ex-general manager of ten years Chris Bond.

The operator, which started trading at the end of June in Glasgow, is offering departure points across east and west Scotland including Glasgow, Hamilton, Paisley, Edinburgh, and Dundee, and Carlisle for southbound trips. Short breaks are offered across the UK and Ireland.

The range of departure points represents an expansion of the original Caledonian Travel’s offering under SLG, which did not feature pick ups on the east coast of Scotland.

Bond, who worked at Barrhead Travel as commercial director prior to Caledonian, said: “There was a huge gap [for coach travel] created by the collapse of Specialist Leisure Group and David Urquhart Travel in Scotland.

“We have been overwhelmed by the initial response and demand for our breaks.

“I’m keen to develop relationships with agents, particularly on the east coast. As former commercial director of Barrhead Travel, I fully appreciate the benefits of a strong working relationship with agents and am keen for agents to contact us with regards to working together on local joining points.”

Bond said the company could look at providing local pick up departures for clients of agents who can fill substantial numbers of seats.

The company’s website,, is under construction and is set to go live within the next fortnight.

The first Tartan Travel departure is on August 3, and already many coaches are filled to the 50% capacity allowed under social distancing rules, said Bond.

Longer term the operator hopes to hire around 20 or 30 liveried coaches, currently it has two, and will also look to expand into offering some European coach holidays.

Tartan Travel was set up using private investment after the collapse of SLG, prior to the acquisition of the Caledonian and brands by the former senior management team of coach brands Caledonian Travel and National Holidays.

Bond said: “Following the demise of SLG there was an opportunity to develop a model to offer great quality and value breaks across a range of joining points.”

He welcomed news the Caledonian brand is also being relaunched, adding: “The return of Caledonian Travel fantastic news for the industry, I wish the directors best of luck.

“I believe myself and the former team of Caledonian Travel have a unique understanding of our local market. We’d like to think we have a team with plenty of expertise and knowledge.”

Tartan Travel’s lead-in prices start from £69 per person for overnight breaks, with five day breaks from £199. All breaks include coach travel with reserved seating, dinner, bed and breakfast at the hotel and an inclusive excursion programme. Popular destinations so far have included Blackpool, Brighton and Bournemouth.

The company is not linked to independent travel agency Tartan Travel, based in Inverness.

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