Inverness Travel is gearing up for a post-Covid travel boom by expanding further into the Highlands and Moray, a move it expects to quadruple its business.
The business has taken over operations of local rivals Beaver Travel and Alba Travel; staff from Beaver’s Elgin and Forres branches, and those from Alba’s Inverness shop, will join the Inverness Travel team at its new Strothers Lane base, along with two additional members of staff appointed to newly-created support roles.
Scott Murray, managing director of Inverness Travel, who grew up in Forres, said the business was committed to maintaining a presence in both Elgin and Forres.
"Alba Travel and Beaver Travel are trusted names in the Highlands and Moray, and we are committed to delivering the same high quality of service to the communities they have served for over 40 years," said Murray.
"A big part of that commitment is ensuring staff are able to continue to work in the communities where they have built lasting relationships with holidaymakers over the years.
"As a business, it is incredibly important to us that we are able to create and retain jobs across the Highlands and Moray – and ensure that travellers receive the continuity of service they require for stress-free travel."
Reflecting on the prospect of expanding amid a global pandemic, Murray said: "The past 12 months have been unprecedented in the travel industry, but we are confident that as restrictions are lifted there will be a resurgence of people looking to travel abroad.
"We are already seeing signs of hopeful travellers making plans for the latter half of 2021 and into next year.”
Murray added Inverness was actively looking for premises to launch new travel "boutiques" in Elgin and Forres.
Inverness Travel was founded in 2014 by Murray and wife Sarah, who also co-founded homeworking agency Wanderluxe, based just outside London in Hertfordshire.
Beaver Travel was in 2017 taken over by Glasgow-based Clyde Travel Management, which already then owned Alba Travel.
Identical statements have been issued by Beaver and Alba on their respective websites, confirming the Inverness Travel takeover.
"Beaver Travel has reached an agreement to transfer all existing customer travel bookings to Inverness Travel, an experienced local travel agency protected by both Atol and Abta schemes," read the statement on the Beaver Travel website.
"All existing travel bookings will be fulfilled, and customers are being contacted directly with further information and reassurance. As part of this transfer of operations, our employees have been offered the opportunity to serve as new team members of Inverness Travel.
"Throughout the month of April, Beaver Travel communication lines will remain open to answer any queries regarding your existing bookings. However, we will not be facilitating new travel bookings and our shop will remain closed.
"We are truly thankful to our employees for their unwavering commitment and dedication in delivering the very best expert travel advice to our loyal customer base. It has been a privilege to serve you all. We wish you enjoyable and safe future travels."