Coach holiday acquisition adds new element to respected Llandudno-based operator
Caernarfon-based Silver Star Holidays has joined the Alpine Travel Group fold – a deal which was completed on Friday (August 1).
Explaining the acquisition, Alpine’s Chris Owens told CBW: “Apart from open-top tours, vintage coach tours and a very small North Wales excursion programme, Alpine has been very much a business to business operation. It’s always been our desire to offer our own coach tour products.
“However, the market is saturated. All North Wales operators do an excellent job and are well established, with strong brands and loyal customer bases. Therefore, it would have been a folly to add another company into the mix, so when the opportunity to arose to acquire part of Silver Star, we took it.
“Craig Porteous bought Silver Star out of the ashes in 2011. Supported by excellent local staff, including the management team, he has moved the business forward – but he lives in Hull, so it’s difficult. We’ve been able to capitalise on that success, as coaches have been hired in from Alpine.
“The coach tourism market is improving and recovering from recession. Alpine Travel has a good name and superb operating experience – along with great support staff, vehicles and tour drivers. Therefore, it’s a natural progression.”
Chris added: “As a company, we’re thrilled to welcome on board members of the Silver Star family – all staff have moved across.
“I’m also delighted to announce that Ian Thomas, who was Group Holidays Manager at Voel Holidays, has recently joined us. He will be working alongside Gavin Owen, Silver Star’s General Manager to further boost the management team and develop new products.
Chris was keen to stress: “The future for Silver Star is very much built on quality and diversity of the product – not price. In my opinion, there is already a multitude of budget tour operators in the market and it’s not our intention to increase the customer base on price alone.
“Alpine’s philosophy has always been on quality and value for money, rather than just price alone. I’ve spoken to local operators and have made it clear we all have a duty to promote coach tourism. We need to compete against the private car, aircraft and national budget coach operators, rather than our neighbours.”
Silver Star North Wales Ltd, as the firm is called, is an owned subsidiary of Alpine Travel Group. Craig remains a shareholder in the business. Bonded through Bonded Coach Holidays, the firm is a holiday sales company – it doesn’t operate any coaches of its own. Vehicle provision will be through Alpine Travel and its extensive network of trusted partner operators.
On that note, Chris said: “By the end of next week, there will be three Plaxton-bodied Volvos in Silver Star livery. Our designers have tried to make the scheme mimic the Alpine livery. I feel it’s important to lend value and maintain the family branding.”
The vehicles dedicated to Silver Star will be based at the firm’s operating centre on the Cibyn industrial estate on the edge of Caernarfon. Chris was also keen to stress:
“This deal does not impact in the slightest on our relationship with Jones Holidays of Flint, which we at Alpine will continue to supply with its own dedicated coaches and drivers. Jones is focused on North East Wales, a very different market to that in North West Wales, in which Silver Star operates.”
Ever true to its Welsh cultural roots, Silver Star has been exhibiting at the National Eisteddfod in Llanelli which takes place this week.