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'Stronger than ever' agent focus

'Stronger than ever' agent focus

Heather Leisman, GRJ president of North America, will oversee a new combined North American operation. VBR co-founders Todd Powell and Cole Dannewitz, meanwhile, will join the existing GRJ executive and transition into new roles with a global focus.


GRJ said its commitment to its trade partners would be “stronger than ever” with Lindsay Dixon continuing to provide support and education in the UK.


Peter Liney, Great Rail Journeys chief executive, said: “This acquisition is the first step of many as we look to enhance our position as the world’s leading rail holiday company.


“At a time of market uncertainty, it signifies our scale and ambition within the market and at one stroke makes us market leader for escorted rail holidays in the US.


“Building on recently launched programmes such as rail river cruise and small group tours, this deal will present the trade with added benefits and an unrivalled rail portfolio range, giving greater choice for all of our customers.


“From product expansion to investment in technology and strengthening both our escorted and independent travel business, the combination of our two businesses is very exciting for us all.”


Todd Powell, co-founder of chief executive of VBR, added the deal would build on the two company’s strong working relationship.


“The combination of our two companies represents a significant opportunity to grow our footprint in the rail vacation sector domestically and internationally, as well as accelerate into new markets,” he said. “We look forward to formally becoming part of the GRJ family.”

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