Travel business bucking trend

Blackpool-based student travel firm NST is expanding at a time when most travel companies are struggling to survive.'Pictured with one of their new coaches are L-R: Head of Transport Mark Hodgkinson, General Manager Steve Craven, and Coach and Ferry Contracts Manager Paul Simms. PIC BY ROB LOCK'8-12-11
Blackpool-based student travel firm NST is expanding at a time when most travel companies are struggling to survive.'Pictured with one of their new coaches are L-R: Head of Transport Mark Hodgkinson, General Manager Steve Craven, and Coach and Ferry Contracts Manager Paul Simms. PIC BY ROB LOCK'8-12-11
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A TRAVEL firm is experiencing rapid growth while industry giants struggle in the current economic climate.

NST Travel Group, based in Blackpool, is heading for double-digit growth this year – and has been growing for the past five years at a steady rate.

That is in marked contrast to the likes of troubled travel industry giant Thomas Cook, forced to increase borrowings with a plummeting share price.

Now, the Whitehills-based school travel firm, which employs 130 people, has set its stall out for further expansion in the forthcoming years.

General manager Steve Craven said: “In the current climate, we’re doing pretty well.

“We managed to take on 30 new staff this year.

“We’ve just invested in two luxury coaches which help out our suppliers and they are also good for publicity – they’ll look great parked at the Eiffel Tower, or outside any school.

“It sounds cliched but we are only as good as the people we employ – and this is a people business.

“If we can provide a fun and thriving business environment for them to work in, we see our results going up. It’s their depth of knowledge that they build up over time.”

The firm also works with Blackpool Sixth Form College’s Careers Academy UK to bring students into the firm.

Mr Craven added: “It’s important for us to play our part and help enhance learning.

“It helps us get closer to the students, while also letting us draw on bright, young talent in the area.”