Following a star-studded celebration of the business’s 50th anniversary this month, the founder and Director of Parrys International Tours has announced plans to finally hand over management.
Dave Parry (pictured), who has been at the helm of the Cheslyn Hay operation since 1973, hopes his son James can step up to take over, although this is to be confirmed over the next few months.
Around 250 customers and invited guests were taken by Parrys to London by coach for the weekend-long event on 3-5 November. A gala dinner at the London Heathrow Marriott Hotel included a video presentation marking the half-century and guests including singer and actress Claire Sweeney, plus Brendan Sheerin from TV series Coach Trip. Guests were also treated to a visit to Windsor and lunch on the Thames.
Mr Parry says the event was blessed with a “great atmosphere” and that he was inundated with comments of thanks from guests after the weekend. Looking forward, he confirms the business is making plans for 2024 and beyond, even though this will be the last big event with him in charge.
However, when the baton is passed on, he is not about to put his feet up. He says: “I don’t want to stop, I’ll always be there in the background but perhaps I can get away a bit more. I don’t want to sit down doing nothing.”
Looking back on his time in the industry, he says he would never have imagined still running the business after 50 years. Of the changes he has seen over his career, he recalls: “You live the business, it’s a way of life, that’s how it was at one time but a lot more people think it’s a nine-to-five job now.
“The industry has changed dramatically and particularly after the pandemic. To get people back on coaches we’ve got to give them something special in terms of service and quality. So it’s a battle but we’re in a good position and we like that challenge. It’s more difficult than it was and I’m still working harder than ever.”
As much as he has enjoyed his time, he regrets the coach tourism sector has not been held in higher regard. “The industry needs to take a step forward and be recognised more as a proper holiday industry,” he says. “I think we are frowned upon by the government, we were the only ones who didn’t get any money during the pandemic. For tourism in this country, we are essential.”