Scottish coach tour operator gears up for overseas demand for Skye, Outlander, Loch Lomond and Oban excursionsHeat Profit
A SCOTTISH coach tour operator has highlighted the strength of demand from overseas visitors coming through Glasgow and Edinburgh airports, amid sterling’s post-Brexit vote weakness, as it increases its capacity with Investment in new vehicles.
Timberbush Tours, which operates out of its home city of Edinburgh and Glasgow, said yesterday it was Investing £1.2 million in new vehicles as it gears up for increased frequency on its Outlander and Skye excursions and launches tours to York and the Lake District.
The firm, which sells its excursions mainly to overseas visitors, is also increasing the frequency of its tours from Glasgow to Loch Lomond and Oban.
Timberbush, which serves about 70,000 customers a year on its tours and excursions and also has a private hire and corporate transport business, is Investing in nine new coaches.
Steve Spalding, chief executive of Timberbush, noted the firm had sold five coaches as part of its regular fleet replacement service, with its vehicle numbers rising from 19 to 23 on the back of the Investment.
He highlighted continuing strong demand for Timberbush’s tours from US tourists. Mr Spalding also flagged growth in business from Chinese visitors.
Timberbush was founded about 20 years ago by husband-and-wife team Gary and June Voy, who still own the business.
Mr Spalding said: “The tourism Market is obviously quite strong in Glasgow and Edinburgh, and the Central Belt, right now.”
He flagged strength in the numbers of international visitors over the last two or three years. Mr Spalding noted overseas tourist numbers had been “helped by the devaluation of sterling, which is good for us”. He observed sterling weakness was not so good “when you are buying a bus”.
He added: “Across the piece, there is an increase in the capacity requirement for meeting increased demand coming through the airports at the moment.”
Timberbush currently employs more than 50 people. Mr Spalding said staff numbers would rise to around 70 in summer. He noted that, in last year’s peak summer season, Timberbush had employed around 62 people.
Of the new coaches, one is a 47-seater MAN Galileo and the rest are Mercedes vehicles. The Mercedes vehicles comprise three 33-seaters, two 19-seaters, and three 16-seaters.