New coach business Loch Lomond Travel seeks trade backing

A new coach holiday business wanting to work with agents will be led by Chris Bond, formerly of Tartan Travel, Caledonian Travel and Barrhead Travel.

Loch Lomond Travel, launched by McGill’s Group, will provide coach holidays to resorts and attractions across the UK.

Bond has been installed as managing director of the business, which he hopes to grow with the help of the trade.

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He said: “We will be working with agents in the coming months to increase the reach of the business as we grow and ensure our holidays are available to the widest number of people possible.”

The brand is expecting imminent delivery of 25 coaches, but it will also be able to call upon the 100-plus coaches of its sister companies in the McGill’s Group.

A new website has been launched and the 2024 brochure will be released this week, featuring tours including the North Coast 500, Lewis & Harris, In Search of the Northern Lights and The Greatest Railway Journey in the World on the Jacobite Train from Fort William to Mallaig.

Bond was most recently managing director of Tartan Travel – a coach operator launched in 2020 – and he served as general manager of coach operator Caledonian Travel for a decade. On leaving Barrhead Travel, he was in the role of commercial director.

He said: “A lot of work has gone into launching Loch Lomond Travel, making sure we have the right partnerships with the very best hotels and destinations that people want to visit.

“Our inaugural 2024 brochure highlights the great places that we will serve but we are very clear that this is only the start.

“The business will have its roots in Scotland but we have ambitions to drive growth and eventually serve the whole of the UK.”

The company is a subsidiary of McGill’s, which is owned by leading Scottish businessmen Sandy and James Easdale.

In recent years, the group has acquired Xplore Dundee from National Express and also mounted a takeover of First Scotland East.

Its partnership with FlixBus helps to serve long-distance travel from Scotland and England, while its Bright Bus Tours arm has recently expanded in Edinburgh to include a bus link from the city centre to the airport.

McGill’s chief executive Ralph Roberts said: “We’ve built a great and experienced team under Chris, all of whom know what holidaymakers are looking for in a UK break.

“The pandemic was a tough period for coach holiday operators but that has created an opportunity that we are sure Loch Lomond Travel will fill.”

The business is hoping to attract customers of all ages.

The Easdale brothers were ranked in 126st place in The Sunday Times Rich List 2023.

Picture (from left): Chris Bond and Ralph Roberts

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