Baldwins Travel acquires Kent agency Westerham Travel

Kent-based miniple Baldwins Travel has expanded again with the acquisition of Westerham Travel for an undisclosed sum.

The addition of Westerham Travel, based in the Kent town of the same name, brings the Baldwins’ retail network to 11 shops.

Its 10th shop recently opened in Grantham, Lincolnshire – the first store outside the southeast region in Baldwins’ 129-year history.

Nick Marks, managing director at Baldwins, said Westerham Travel was established in 1972 by Simon Firbank, who has been able to retire now his one-man agency is sold.

The store will undergo a comprehensive refurbishment and rebranded as Baldwins, with the aim of reopening in the next two or three weeks with staff from Baldwins.

Marks said the agency was a good fit for Baldwins and has an affluent customer base, in a town which is “strategically located” with its road and rail links to the capital.

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He said: “We’re delighted to acquire Westerham Travel which will now see Baldwins set up home in the vibrant and picturesque town.

“As we grow Baldwins Travel, we take great pride in each store and we’re looking forward to working with Westerham Travel during the transition and meeting the local community as the store is transformed.

“We will get involved in the local community, as we do with all our branches, and work with local charities…building on the legacy of Westerham Travel.”

This acquisition and Grantham store opening are part of Baldwins’ 2024-25 growth strategy to open five retail locations, with additional announcements to be made this year.

Dan Shaw, chief commercial officer for Baldwins, added: “We are delighted to have acquired a strong established business, which mirrors the Baldwins’ DNA.

“As we announced earlier this year, we are continuing to expand our portfolio through acquisitions and opening new locations.

“We currently have several ongoing negotiations with third parties regarding new locations and we remain on target for our store openings target for 2024.”

• Baldwins Travel recently held a cruise and touring event at Salomons Estate, a venue near Tunbridge Wells in Kent.

Marks said it attracted about 250 clients who came to meet representatives from 31 suppliers in the growing cruise and touring sectors.

“There is a lot of capacity in the cruise sector – and touring is going through the roof; we are seeing double-digit increases, especially in the solos sector,” he added.

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