The Travel Network Group is targeting more than 1,000 members within 18 months as part of an ambitious growth strategy to further strengthen its position in the UK market.

Chief executive Gary Lewis (pictured) said the group’s aim was to dominate the independent travel agency sector for the benefit of its existing members.

Growth would come primarily from helping members to expand their businesses and from members proactively promoting the group, said Lewis, but he has not ruled out acquisitions of other independent agency groups.

The group currently has 910 members, with branches counted as separate members, and is made up of the Travel Trust Association, Worldchoice, Worldchoice Plus and Independent Travel Experts.

He said: “Our ambition is to grow our members’ businesses by helping them grow; scale is important.

“We have an incredible pipeline of people coming to talk to us about joining. That was not happening two years ago.

“We have only grown over the last 12 months because our members have talked positively about us.”

The plans follow the management buyout of the group in January. Lewis and his management team now own 85% of the group, with 15% owned by a venture capital firm.

Lewis added: “The experience of the management buyout has given us a great deal of further experience that we can now use to help members who want to further develop their businesses.”

Lewis compared the group 
to a blue-chip company in how it now represents members, which collectively make holiday sales worth £2 billion a year.He said: “Our ambition is to be this market-leading, member-centric business that dominates the independent travel market for the benefit of our members.”