NGT acquires travel group

Following exceptional growth by Blackpool-based school travel firm, WST Travel, parent company, NGT (Next Generation Travel) has acquired Cambridgeshire-based FHT Group Travel to fuel its ambitious expansion plans in the educational travel market.

WST Travel has experienced 100% year-on-year turnover growth in the school travel market since being set-up in 2010.

FHT, which provides educational tours for students in further and higher education, will form an important part of NGT’s expansion strategy following industry predictions that increasing numbers of college and university students will go on educational visits as part of their course.

Established for four years, FHT currently carries over 10,000 passengers each year. The acquisition substantially increases NGT’s market share, adding to the 15,000 passengers WST carries each year to London, Continental Europe and the US.

The timely acquisition also follows the government announcement that all young people in England must continue in education or training until the end of the academic year in which they turn 17 from 2013 and until their 18th birthday from 2015.

Within four months since acquiring the firm in September, NGT has doubled FHT staff levels and invested in new premises in the move from Bishop’s Stortford to Great Shelford in Cambridgeshire.

The move is spearheaded by NGT chairman, David Craven, who has over 30 years experience in educational travel with over 20 of those years as MD of NST, one of the UK's leading educational travel companies; and Deborah Beckett, WST Managing Director, who has over 20 years travel experience including operating at Director level with a major travel PLC.

NGT managing director, Deborah Beckett, said: “FHT is the perfect match for our expansion strategy and core values. The existing team have unrivalled experience and by bringing talented new people on board we can deliver on our promise to meet the quality and customer service needs of colleges and universities, whilst offering inspiring and affordable tour packages.” WST Travel was established in December 2010, and organises over 15,000 educational visits per year to London, Continental Europe and the US. Recently awarded the Investors in People standard, the firm has rapidly expanded its team by choosing employees with the highest levels of specialist travel experience. As a result, the 23 strong workforce has over 300 years’ combined industry experience.