Travel agency chain Enjoy Holidays has been sold for an undisclosed sum to one of the largest tour operators in Turkey.
Ronnie Findlay, who has run the business for five years and is staying on as commercial director, said he was forced to look for a buyer to keep the business afloat because of increasing pressure on cash flow, particularly cuts in cruise commissions.
The Anex Tourism Group, which owns eight aircraft and has annual passenger carryings of one million, mainly offering holidays to Russians travelling to Turkey and other countries worldwide, is now the major shareholder in the five-shop chain.
Findlay, who remains a minor shareholder, said: “Unless you are part of a larger group it’s extremely difficult to survive. I don’t have the personal wealth to take the business beyond its £8 million turnover so I have been searching for business partners for some time.”
As a result of the acquisition by the Anex Tourism Group, the chain now plans to move its business away from the cruise sector and launch a new “old-fashioned” tour operation to be sold through the trade.
Already the agency has dramatically reduced cruise sales from a third of business in 2010 to a quarter in 2011. Following the decision by Complete Cruise Solution to cut agent commission to 5% in March this year, Findlay was forced to shut the company’s cruise call centre and is now even considering removing cruise brochures from the agencies’ shelves. “No agent can survive on 5% commission,” he said.
The tour operation is due to launch before the end of the year. “We will be looking to the trade for the majority of our sales. I still believe in the trade and I think agents will benefit from having an old-fashioned supplier,” added Findlay.
The tour operator will offer a range of countries, but will focus on Turkey, particularly the Antalya region.