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Tuesday, Sep 27, 2022
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TRAVEL—Acquisition Could Put Travel Agency at the Top in San Diego

San Diego Travel Group has agreed to acquire a fellow top agency, Travel Connoisseur, in a deal that could have the buyer’s revenues possibly exceed $100 million this year.

If sales expectations pan out, it could become the largest travel agency in San Diego.

Travel Group president Tim Smith would not disclose the amount he paid for the Mission Valley-based company, citing competition.

However, Smith did say financial discussions about the purchase had been going on for about a year between him and Laurence Skelly, who owns and runs Travel Connoisseur.

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Skelly had long planned to return to his native Isle of Man, in the Irish Sea, where he will work with the self-governed island’s Department of Tourism. He’ll move in early 2001, when the deal with San Diego Travel Group closes.

Travel Connoisseur’s sales in 1999 were $27.5 million, placing it the fifth largest in the San Diego Business Journal’s audited ranking of local travel agencies, which was released in June.

San Diego Travel Group had come out second, with its sales of $60.6 million being $100,000 under the local sales of Sorrento Mesa-based Balboa Travel.

Of Travel Connoisseur’s four locations, the Mission Valley office will remain open. The La Jolla office will be closed and employees moved into San Diego Travel Group office in the area. The fates of the other two offices, in Downtown and La Mesa, have yet to be decided, Smith said.

All of Travel Connoisseur’s 46 employees will be retained, Smith said.

The company’s current assets include ticket sales-focused Connoisseur Consolidators, a golf vacation division and an Internet sales department.

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