British tour operator First Choice has become the second of Britain's leading tour operators to have made a significant move into the Balearic market as part of its strategy to play a major role in the consolidation of the European travel industry. Yesterday the board of First Choice announced that it has purchased the travel division of the Majorcan group Barcelo, which is one of Spain's leading tour operators and retailers, for £33.7 million. First Choice was reported to be looking to expand a few weeks ago amidst all the mergers and buy-outs in the European travel industry and this latest venture gives First Choice a firm platform for expansion in continental Europe and Latin America along with the prospect of securing access to around 10'000 beds in a successful and well managed group. The acquisition of the Barcelo Group's Travel Division also provides First Choice with a strategic stake of 19.37 per cent in the Globalia Group which compromises the airline Air Europa, Spain's leading travel agency Viajes Halcon, Spain's leading tour operator Travel Plan and two hotels. The acquisition of Barcelo Travel Division involves three principal businesses. The first is the Turavia tour operator which offers package holidays predominantly in Spain including the Balearics and the Canary Islands.

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