40% growth for Edwards Coaches

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Edwards say passengers recognise great value for money from coach tours
Edwards say passengers recognise great value for money from coach tours

Pontypridd-based Edwards coaches in South Wales has seen a 40% increase in its holiday business revenues during the nine months to October.

The firm acquired Swansea-based Diamonds Holidays out of administration in January. The failed business, which included Brian Isaac Coaches, had a combined turnover of £10.8m.

Jason Edwards commercial director, and fifth generation of the family, said the decision to buy out Diamond had a major impact on the business.

“The collapse of Diamond Coaches and Brian Issacs, our two main competitors, has meant our figures have gone through the roof,” he said.

“People are taking two, even three, holidays a year as they realise what value-for-money we offer. As coaches have improved and the degree of comfort they offer increases we have seen an increase in both European and UK holidays.”

Mr Edwards believes as fuel prices rise customers will increasingly see the benefits of a coach holiday. However, despite its recent success, the business will still face challenges.

“There have been difficult times in the past but with luck and persistent hard work we are optimistic about the future.

“There is one cloud that hangs over us which is the absence of a younger generation entering the industry and being prepared to run a family business. As a family we are fortunate in this respect and we have a loyal staff. Our drivers are exceptionally well paid, they have the opportunity to travel both in the UK and Europe, enjoying four-star hotel accommodation,” he said.

Mr Edwards said the company had no immediate plans for further acquisitions after buying up Diamond, but if an opportunity occurred it would be judged on its merits.

The firm is pursuing opportunities to grow its business and recently entered the cruise market with a link-up with Royal Caribbean cruises. This involves a door-to-dock service from around South Wales and is so far fulfilling the company’s expectations.

“Our primary concern is for the 80,000 passengers we carry each year,” he said. “This is up 20,000 on last year’s numbers. In addition, we are responsible for getting 6,500 school children to their different schools which is a great responsibility.”