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AC Group launches LGBTQ division

AC Group has become the first UK inbound destination management company (DMC) with an LGBTQ division

AC Group has become the first UK inbound destination management company (DMC) with an LGBTQ division.


The DMC has appointed TravelBeat’s John Bridge as an LGBTQ specialist to attract more business from the sector by partnering with some of the biggest names in LGBTQ events and hospitality, in addition to ensuring the demands and aspirations of the diverse communities who identify as LGBTQ are met.


Joint CEO Rob Russell said: “LGBTQ travel is evolving swiftly as acceptance spreads and the travel industry matures to offer everything this diverse sector seeks, including weddings and honeymoons, solo, group and family travel.


“John’s tourism and travel pedigree complemented with a specialism in seeking out and delivering memorable experiences for the LGBTQ market, means he will help us to further establish AC Group as the leading DMC in the UK. LGBTQ travel is a lucrative and resilient market segment that continues to strengthen in our core markets.”


The appointment follows Angela Heaton joining in January 2018 as MD with former joint MDs Rob Russell and Malcolm Lindop becoming joint CEOs. In 2017, AC Group enjoyed its strongest year to date including forecasted revenue growth of 69 per cent year on year, acquisition of its fourth brand, French Travel Partners; and the opening of new offices in Paris and New York.


Director at TravelBeat Ltd, Bridge and his team bring more than a decade of travel industry and marketing expertise to AC Group. Bridge is also UK ambassador for the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association.


VisitBritain’s director of travel trade and business events (North America), Carl Walsh, said: “We work closely with industry partners to develop new products that showcase the diversity of experiences and make it easier for visitors to explore our welcoming nations and regions. We are delighted that AC Group is building this division which will specialise in meeting the demand of North American travellers in this important market.”


Bridge added: “The LGBTQ travel sector is a $6bn industry which still isn’t being serviced to its full potential. I’m proud to work alongside Malcolm, Rob, Angela and the AC Group team to help put Britain at the top of the international LGBTQ community’s travel bucket list. I look forward to diversifying and increasing AC Group’s business, ensuring that all our customers are confident of a warm welcome regardless of where they travel with us.”

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