The David Urquhart Travel brand and customer database has been purchased by Alfa Leisureplex group. It is part of the Chorley company’s ongoing expansion plans that will see it grow its market presence outside its traditional territory.

Tours in Scotland through the revived David Urquhart Travel brand will likely restart with ‘turkey and tinsel’ trips later in 2020, says Alfa Travel Operations Director Paul Bull. A full brochure will be launched soon for the 2021 season.

The previous David Urquhart model of hiring coaches to run tours will continue. Alfa is keen to talk to Scottish operators that may be open to providing vehicles for that purpose. It will also soon be proactively contacting those who formerly worked for David Urquhart Travel.

Additionally, Alfa Travel will extend its reach in the South of England for 2021. That will involve the introduction of a new departure region and interchange at South Mimms to complement the existing Reading operation. New pickup points will also be introduced. Those plans mean that Alfa Travel wishes to hear from coach operators that are interested in working with it as a preferred partner on the Alfa programme.

Alfa Leisureplex’s 2021 programme will focus entirely on coach holidays and self-drive breaks in the UK and Ireland. It says that will allow it to take advantage of what it predicts will be a post-coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic rise in ‘staycation’ bookings.

One former member of David Urquhart Travel staff has transferred to Alfa Leisureplex and more will follow. An office in East Kilbride will manage the sales process for David Urquhart Travel, but former customers outside Scotland will be introduced to the Alfa Travel brand, says Mr Bull.

Managing Director Emma Russell adds that David Urquhart Travel fits perfectly into Alfa’s expansion plans, as its heartlands are where Alfa Travel does not offer departures. However, Leisureplex hotels have been welcoming David Urquhart customers for many years.

Early in the pandemic Alfa Travel took the decision to refund customers on cancelled tours. That has been “instrumental in helping the brand to retain and grow both direct and travel trade sales during these uncertain times,” it says. Coach tours restarted on 1 August and Alfa has seen a positive response from those customers who have travelled with it since then, adds Mr Bull.

David Urquhart Travel announced in May that it was winding down its coach travel business. It cited pressures brought about by the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

Coach operators interested in working with Alfa Leisureplex should email traffic@alfatravel.co.uk