Border Travel celebrates 60th anniversary amid strong peaks

Scottish agency Border Travel began its 60th anniversary year with an “amazing” start to peaks.

The Dumfries business, founded by Hal McGhie in 1964, celebrated six decades of trading on January 1.

Retail manager Gary Jardine said: “It’s a fantastic achievement for any business to achieve that longevity, especially when you’re in an incredibly competitive industry.”

Jardine joined the agency in 1999 as a business travel consultant, before becoming retail manager in 2003.

He leads a team of 11 in the retail division, while the business travel division and the accounts department have two employees each.

Jardine credited the staff for the agency’s continued success as an independent agency.

“To remain independent throughout all this time and continue to grow the business in a highly competitive market is testament to the staff we have,” he said.

“We have a number of staff who have been with the business for 20, 30 or 40 years.”

The staff were particularly important in helping the business emerge from the pandemic, he said, with newly recruited employees performing “fantastically well”.

In the face of the challenge from online competitors, Border Travel has proven that high street shops can remain as busy as ever.

“Last year was probably the most successful year in our history,” said Jardine. “Our turnover probably increased by 40%, so our biggest issue this year is to try to replicate that.”

He said the start of 2024 was “amazing”, adding: “On Sunshine Saturday (January 6), we had people queueing to get into our premises.”

In his time at Border Travel, Jardine has witnessed a steady drop in the number of travel agencies in Dumfries.

“We’ve all seen the demise of high streets over the years. In Dumfries, we’ve gone from having six travel agencies to two – ourselves and Hays Travel – and a high street that is not exactly thriving,” he said.

But he is proud that Border Travel is “bucking the trend”.

“It’s good to be competing,” he said. “We’re constantly having to evolve our services and make sure our pricing structures are spot on.”

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