New coach operator courts travel agents in South Wales

A new coach tour operator is courting travel agents in South Wales following the appointment of former Travel House head of retail Leanne Williams.

Williams joined Jason Edwards Travel as business development manager at the end of February after nearly 20 years at the South Wales travel agency chain, acquired by Hays Travel in November last year.

The coach operator was set up last year by Jason Edwards, former managing director of Edwards Coaches. He has been joined by three senior managers who also previously worked at Edwards.

The company received its Abta bond at the end of 2023 and began trading in January, offering packaged coach trips of one to eight nights across the UK and Europe.

These include coach trips to events and festive breaks. So far, packages offering travel and tickets to the Abba Voyage show in London have proved popular while the company’s first European tour is due to depart in May.

Williams said talks were just starting with local travel agency groups. An initial four-page supplement had been produced while a 12-page supplement has just gone to print featuring trips for the rest of 2024. A larger range of coach trips will feature in a 32-page 2025 brochure, due out in July.

The company hopes to attract around 40% of sales from the trade.

Williams said: “I am starting to work with travel agents and take bookings from them. We want to support agents and we will look to do some marketing directly with them. We are fully committed to the trade; we know how important agents are.”

The current focus is on raising brand awareness, said Williams, and the company already has plans to take some agents on day trips to experience its coaches. Last week the company operated a mystery tour which was featured on ITV News Wales in conjunction with the Road Haulage Association National Coach Week.

Williams added: “We want to shout about coach travel not just for ourselves but for the whole industry.”

Jason Edwards Travel’s coach holidays depart from Llanelli in South Wales and travel along the M4 corridor to Magor Services, with 17 pick up points, including the company’s offices at Treforest Industrial Estate, which offers free secured parking.

The company also has a five year contract with National Express Coaches to operate between Stansted Airport and Paddington station in London and works with inbound tour operators, supplying coaches for London and UK tours.


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