US travel giant Apple Leisure Group (ALG) has acquired Funway Holidays and is preparing to launch its new sister operator Travel Impressions to UK retail agents.
ALG, which is owned by private equity firms KKR and KSL, has a number of well-known travel companies in its portfolio including AMResorts, Southwest Airlines Vacations, United Vacations, Apple Vacations and Travel Impressions.
ALG said Funway – which it bought for an undisclosed sum from William La Macchia – joined it in a “complementary role, as a companion company” to the existing Travel Impressions International tour operation, headquartered in London.
The group plans to expand Travel Impressions’ distribution through UK retail agents.
Melissa Tilling, managing director of Funway, and Carla van der Giesen, vice-president of Travel Impressions International, will both report to Scott Wiseman, president of Travel Impressions.
Wiseman said: “Funway enjoys preferred supplier status with retailers like Thomas Cook and Tui; partnerships with top tier airlines; and a loyal agent following.
“And as a majority B2B brand, it has a similar footprint to the TI Europe team, making the unification of the two brands a natural fit.
“Now that ALG will be able to capitalise on the power of the two combined organisations, I believe we can achieve tremendous growth.”
Tilling added: “We have enjoyed amazing support from our travel agent partners for the Funway Holidays USA, Caribbean and Mexico programmes over many years and look forward to working alongside our colleagues at Travel Impressions UK to support as they present their impressive product to retail partners.”
Van der Giesen said Travel Impressions was looking to offer its tailor-made programme “to select partners who are focused on the demands of high-end travellers”.
Commercial terms for Travel Impressions with Thomas Cook retail have already been finalised.
Wiseman added: “We believe this unification will increase visibility and relevance of travel agents on both sides of the Atlantic.”