Turquoise Holidays marketing director James Bell is taking over as managing director of the up market operator from co-founder Brian Barton as part of expansion plans.

Barton, who set up the London-based company in 2002, will continue an active role in the business as executive chairman.

The luxury Australian specialist has grown to become a boutique long haul honeymoon and family operator.

Bell has outlined a three-year plan to increase annual sales from £15 million to £25 million, with the average holiday spend forecast to rise to £9,000.

Turquoise has seen its family holiday sales grow from 14% to 24% since 2014 when it published its first dedicated family brochure and opened a shop in south-west London.

The average selling price of a family holiday has jumped from £11,500 to more than £13,500. The average price of a tailor made holiday or honeymoon is now almost £8,000.

Bell said: “We went into the family market with our eyes wide open, filling what we correctly perceived to be a distinct gap in the market and we have not been disappointed by the response.

“We have, however, been somewhat taken by surprise with the marked increase in requests for ‘something special’ to celebrate significant birthdays and anniversaries.

“This has seen our average booking jump by £1,500 per holiday in just over 12 months. It has also given our already buoyant family holiday sector a boost, as many celebration holidays include children, and even grandchildren.”

The Maldives is Turquoise Holidays’ biggest selling destination by volume, followed by Mauritius, Thailand and Tahiti.

Mauritius and the Maldives are the top two best-sellers for all three holiday sectors – tailor-made, honeymoon and family.

The top ten highest performing destinations include the UAE (Dubai/Oman), Malaysia, St Lucia, Antigua, Tanzania (including Zanzibar), South Africa, Indonesia (Bali/Lombok) and The Seychelles.

Burma, The Philippines, California and Mexico are all being added to the portfolio for 2016/17 along with a new dedicated celebration holiday division.

Turquoise will be doubling its office and shop floor space this month.

Current marketing manager Lizzie Heeley has been promoted to marketing and client services director.

Jonty Higgs has stepped up to the role of sales and operations director, with Nicole Edgerley taking the role of head of accounts & HR. Sue Bell remains as product director with special responsibility for new destinations and product development.