US vacations in sight for Edinburgh holiday operator as it creates capital jobs

Lorne Blyth (back row, second from right) with the Flavours Holidays team. Picture: Alistair Clark
Lorne Blyth (back row, second from right) with the Flavours Holidays team. Picture: Alistair Clark
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An activity holiday specialist has unveiled ambitious international expansion plans as it celebrates a record £3.5 million annual turnover.

Flavours Holidays plans to target the lucrative US market with its activity-themed vacations as part of a growth push set to include an Edinburgh recruitment drive.

The company, founded by director Lorne Blyth in 1998, is on course to achieve its highest turnover yet thanks to a bumper two-year spell which has seen headcount double.

Blyth started the firm after graduating from a languages degree and working as a tour guide. She began by taking small groups of holidaymakers to Italy and Spain to experience authentic cooking holidays with local chefs.

Flavours has since grown to offer European trips centred around painting, photography, languages and pilates, with more than 40 per cent of revenues coming from repeat business.

The company plans to boost its 12-strong team by hiring a further eight staff before the end of the year, including a two-year entrepreneurial placement for a graduate who will work in all areas of the business.

Flavours is focused on targeting international markets this year, specifically the US, which it anticipates will result in the creation of additional jobs across the pond.

'Tap into free resources'

Its new office on the Water of Leith, which is five times the size of its current base in Stockbridge, will open in March and feature a demonstration kitchen and host various events including wine tasting and cookery classes.

Blyth attributed the expansion to support from organisations including Business Gateway, which has provided one-to-one growth consultancy, workshops, digital and marketing support.

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She said: “We are going through a really exciting time at the moment at Flavours Holidays as we gear up to move into our own new premises, take on more staff and focus on targeting the US market.

“Without the fantastic team on board and the support from organisations like Business Gateway Edinburgh, right from the start of our journey, none of this would have been possible. I would encourage anyone in business, at any stage, to tap into the free resources available, which has been testament to our success.”

Susan Harkins, head of Business Gateway Edinburgh said: “Business Gateway Edinburgh is designed to support start ups and growth business with a variety of different resources including one-to-one mentorships and digital and marketing support, which we are delighted Flavours Holidays has utilised and has been a great help throughout their growth journey."

Business Gateway Edinburgh provides guidance to new and existing businesses, including free advice from experienced business advisers to support the expansion of start-ups and growth businesses.