British operator buys Irish Welcome Tours
UK tourist operator Hotels & More has agreed a takeover of Irish Welcome Tours (IWT), in a deal understood to be valued at around €20m.
The deal is a bolt-on for Hotels & More which was bought by Mayfair Equity Partners in a 2015 buyout.
IWT will continue to be managed independently by John Waldron, who said that he was “delighted to be partnering with Hotels & More” as it will allow the company much greater access to the UK market.
IWT generated sales of €36.5m in 2015 and a profit of €3.6m, according to the most recently filed accounts for parent company Ampleforth.
It is owned by Michael Holland, whose assets include the Fitzwilliam Hotel and the well-known The Bailey pub in Dublin.
Karin Urban, managing director of Hotels & More, said that Ireland continued to be an “exciting and sought-after destination.” She added: “We view Irish Welcome Tours as the perfect partner. Together we will continue to grow our market position delivering innovative products and services for our clients across our family of brands.”
IWT is an inbound tour oper- ator which has been operating since 1989. The business has strong relationships with more than 600 hotels and visitor attractions around Ireland.
Since its establishment IWT has grown to have a multilingual staff of more than 60, and arranges holidays for more than 70,000 customers a year through its Authentic Vacations, Hotels Ireland, and Irish Horizons brands.
The deal comes at an interesting time for the tourism industry in Ireland, especially in regards to any potential Brexit impact.
Earlier this week the Irish Tourism Industry Federation called on the Government to set up a fund to Brexit-proof the industry. In 2016 the tourism market in Ireland was worth around €4.6bn.
Firm says Ireland is an ‘exciting and sought-after destination’