Sunderland’s Hays Travel buys out family firm

John Hays with Bath travel staff on Bournemouth beach.'Back: Jennie Cox, Clare Ruffell, John Hays and Carly Gerrard'Front: Sophie Jordan and Della Avis-Harries
John Hays with Bath travel staff on Bournemouth beach.'Back: Jennie Cox, Clare Ruffell, John Hays and Carly Gerrard'Front: Sophie Jordan and Della Avis-Harries
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WEARSIDE’S Hays Travel has expanded its network with the acquisition of the largest independent travel agent in the south.

Bournemouth-based Bath Travel has 60 branches, employs 360 people and boasts annual sales of more than £100million.

Hays Travel managing director John Hays paid tribute to the Bath family, who have developed the business over three generations.

“Throughout all of our discussions, they’ve been really open, everything’s been constructive and they’ve been concerned that their business – which has been part of their family for over 50 years – goes to a good home,” he said.

“I’m really pleased they feel that Hays Travel is a good home.

“The values of Bath Travel are of independent and knowledgeable, personal service.”

The acquisition marks a new step for Hays, already the UK’s largest independent travel agency with 43 shops, 800-plus staff and an annual turnover of more than £500million.