York River Boat Cruises sold to London operator for £2.5m

A self-drive Red Boat on the Ouse – this one obeying the rules. Photograph: YorkMix
8 May 2017 @ 12.20 pm
| Business

York’s river cruise operator has been sold to a London tourism firm.

City Cruises has bought York River Boat Cruises Ltd for £2.5m.

This is its third base: City Cruises already runs sightseeing tours along the Thames in London as well as in Poole, Dorset.

Expand the brand

York Boats has a much smaller percentage of trade and internet sales than its new owner’s other operations.

City Cruises will develop this part of the brand further and allow travel agents to benefit from earning commission selling boat trips on the River Ouse.

York Boats employs 20 staff lead by general manager Jo Dykes and has five large passenger boats.

The boats near York Guildhall. Photograph: YorkMix

Jo, who has been with the company for over 20 years, has been instrumental in the success of York Boats and will oversee the company’s transition to become City Cruises York.

The sightseeing cruises will continue to run from two boarding points along the River Ouse, King’s Staith and Lendal Bridge.

Jump aboard the sundowner

The number of its departures “will grow to offer a similar schedule to London”, says City Cruises.

New options will include an early evening sundowner cruise, as well as lunch and dinner cruises.

York will also continue to run the popular Santa specials and Christmas night cruises during the festive season.

“Our objective is to grow the business beyond London and the new acquisition is a step towards achieving this,” said City Cruises managing director Kyle Haughton.

“There are significant opportunities to work with the trade in York and the success we’ve had packaging attractions with cruises is something we want to develop their too.

“We’re increasingly seeing the inbound market expanding into regions outside the capital and we believe that our brand and business model will enhances the traditional boat operator business in York.”