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Saturday, July 31, 2021

How One Welsh-based Tour Operator Plans to Recover With ‘Home Soil Touring’

Porthmadog-based Ffestiniog Travel has said ITV’s Home Sweet Home – Travels in My Own Land could well be the inspiration for Brits to book a holiday on home soil. The three-part series hosted by the adventurous actress and presenter Joanna Lumley is warming the cockles of our hearts by showcasing beautiful places on our doorstep. ” As soon as the UK opens up again, it is the ideal time to discover some of the treasures of our own Kingdom ” says the rail holiday provider’s founder Alan Heywood. 

Ffestiniog Travel’s operation has been derailed by the force and ongoing impact of the global pandemic. For more than 45 years the specialist in escorted group rail holidays has been running tours to more than 60 countries globally and like Lumley has explored some of the world’s most far-flung destinations.  Given the Government’s recent update relating to travel, domestic holidays are certainly set to rebound ahead of international trips and the Welsh tour operator is adapting to the current crisis by focusing on its UK touring portfolio. 

As Lumley lures Brits to fall in love with the UK on her “journey of discovery around our great country”, Ffestiniog Travel is putting its promotional effort in its UK portfolio too. Ffestiniog Travel  has the spotlight on two Welsh itineraries and both escorted group tours are planned for a departure in Autumn 2021. “We’re rebuilding the operation starting at the heart of the business and celebrating our Welsh roots,” said Maria Cook, general manager. 

Cook went on to explain that their new business growth strategy is three-fold and they want to help drive visitor numbers to Wales, support heritage railways survival as well as recover their own operation. “Our jewel in the crown is a ‘behind the scenes‘ tour of the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways. Naturally our relationship with the heritage railways is one that we want to continue supporting, so we are hoping there will be enough interest in this tour to run a second departure too.”

Speaking in depth about the crisis and what the future holds for the business, Heywood who will be turning 81 next month shared “I’ve spent my entire life building Ffestiniog Travel and with the support of my dedicated team we are going to explore the world again, one tour at a time…starting on home soil“. 

Photo credit: Welsh Highland Railway, Copyright Ffestiniog Travel

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