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Alpine Travel was founded on 1st of March 1972 to meet the needs of both the local & tourist trade by husband and wife team Bryan & Pat Owens. Alpine Travel expanded from its origins in the market town of Llanrwst in the Conwy Valley, operating just 6 ageing coaches to become what is today, the largest independent coach & bus operator in North Wales.
Since its creation Alpine Travel has adopted a policy of expansion by acquisition and in 1977 bought the interests of Hughes Bros (Llanrwst & Trefriw) Ltd, another Conwy Valley operator. The current limited company identity was then adopted and is still used to the present day. By this time Bryan had seen the opportunities offered by the tourist trade and links had already been forged with tour operators such as SAGA Holidays & Travelsphere to name but a few. The increased vehicle capacity and the involvement of Bryans brother Chris in the business now meant that they could develop these links and expand the tourist operation. There followed several years of consolidation and organic growth within the company, with a new operating centre being opened in Llandudno in 1985.
A relaxation of government legislation in 1980 meant that Alpine Travel could direct its efforts into developing an excursion and tours programme directly from a number of small sales outlets in the Llandudno and Colwyn Bay area, in direct competition with the very long-established businesses of Creams Tours, Pyes Coaches & Royal Red tours. This saw a rapid expansion in the size and quality of the coaching fleet with drivers and vehicles now being regularly committed to work on Private hire charters, Tour operator charters as well as their own regular tours and excursions.
In 1985 Alpine Travel acquired the rights to the old Royal Red Tours brand name and several vehicles took up a new livery including the name Royal Reds with their distinctive logo depicting a royal crown.
In 1986 changes is government legislation opened a new window of opportunity for Alpine Travel with the deregulation of local bus service operations. This heralded a most exciting time for Alpine Travel and saw its fleet and turnover treble over the next 10 years as its network of bus services were expanded to the East and the seaside holiday resort of Rhyl. During this period another extensive maintenance and operating depot was opened in Rhyl. The company operated both local authority subsidised and commercial bus operations up until the summer of 1995 when the local incumbant bus operator, Crosville Wales, now part of Arriva Plc purchased the companies bus operations allowing for further growth and expansion in the coach holiday market which is where the families business had its roots.
An ever increasing workforce coupled with continued investment in better quality coaches saw increased patronage across all sectors of the bus & coach business and in 1991 Creams Tours, one of Llandudno's oldest excursion and tour operators, was acquired by Alpine Travel meaning that they were then the only company providing tours and excursions into Snowdonia and the North Wales hinterland by luxury coach.
Following the sale of their bus operations to Crosville Wales in 1995 Alpine Travel soon seized the opportunity to acquire the interests of Empire Goldstar a local coach and bus operator specialising in local authority contracts transferring children and students to local schools & colleges.
The acquisition of Empire Goldstar was quickly followed in 1998 by the acquisition of Regina Coaches in Blaenau Ffestiniog which enabled the company to secure contracts further afield into southern reaches of the county of Gwynedd.
Following two decades of sustained expansion through acquisition it was now time for a decade of consolidation and investment into the core business. Despite the resort of Llandudno growing in popularity, sales of tours and excursions to visitors were in decline. Visitors who had traditionally visited the resort for a full weeks holiday were now visiting for a 4 or 5 day break often arriving by coaches which included excursions whilst in resort. Likewise the improvements in the A55 trunk road along the North Wales coast meant that people who had traditionally arrived in Llandudno and visited for the week could now get there in a few hours for the day!
Part of the deal which saw the sale of the companies commercial bus operations to Crosville Wales, also saw the transfer of the then 'Guide Friday' open top bus tour to Alpine. With the subsequent sale of Guide Friday to CitySightseeing Worldwide, Alpine transferred it's franchise agreement which saw the introduction of the red open top 'hop on, hop off' bus now synonomous with most city centres around the world.
The summer of 2000 saw the commencement of the Alpine Heritage Tour operated by a beautifully restored 1956 Leyland Tiget Cub along the magnificent Marine Drive route around the Great Orme, this local excurion complimented the CitySightseeing Open Top tour operation in catering for the needs of the modern visitor to Llandudno who now visited for shorter periods and did not necessariliy wish to take an extended excursion into the Welsh Hinterland.
October 2007 saw the retirement of the companies founder and then Managing Director Mr Bryan Owens along with his wife Patricia who had both invested a majority of their professional lives into Alpine. Bryan was followed in 2012 by his brother Chris upon his retirement leaving the business in the hands of Bryan's son Christopher Bryan Owens accompanied by his wife Sally at the healm of the company now ably assisted by a professional management team charged with driving the company forwards through the 21st century.
August 2014 saw Alpine Travel venture into the holiday & excursions retail market with the acquisition of Silver Star Holidays in Caernarfon, a company with a strong reputation for delivering high quality & affordable holidays both by air, sea and coach. This has seen substantial investment in coaches and systems into Silver Star Holidays business to ensure that the same high standards expected by customers at Alpine are replicated across the business and into Silver Star itself.
Today Alpine Travel is one of the largest and best-known bus and coach operators not only in North Wales, but across the UK.