INDEPENDENT Bolton travel company Travel Counsellors is celebrating after being awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise — the UK’s highest accolade for business success.

The award is in recognition of the firm’s continued growth and overseas expansion.

Travel Counsellors, based in Churchgate, now has more than 1,300 agents running their own travel businesses across eight countries.

It has received the award for International Trade having successfully introduced its business model to Ireland, the Netherland, South Africa, Australia, Canada, Dubai and most recently Belgium, earlier this year.

Travel Counsellors was the first and only travel agency to receive the Queen’s Award for Innovation in 2003, which recognised the company’s original concept of enabling professionals to work from home while supporting them from its central head office in the UK, which now has more than 200 staff and a further 60 plus in its overseas offices.

Travel Counsellors founder and chairman David Speakman said: “We are absolutely delighted to have received the Queen’s Award for International Trade.

“This year we are also celebrating our 20th anniversary so it is fantastic to mark this with such a positive and prestigious recognition of how far we have come in this time.

“We have based our success on the foundations of integrity, care, trust and professionalism and a passionate desire to create a community of the very best in travel.

“We believe, and have proved, there is a need for sincere and trusted advisers that place customer care at the centre of their businesses, which is why our model has really been embraced by the international markets we have expanded into.”

Travel Counsellors’ first international expansion was Ireland in 2005, and since then the company has experienced growth of nearly 120 per cent, with global sales for the financial year end (October 31 2013) of £385 million.

More than 30 per cent of the company’s business is now generated outside of the UK and just under 500 Travel Counsellors operate overseas.

The company will be presented with the award at its head office by the Lord-Lieutenant of the County as the Queen’s representative.

Additionally, staff will attend a special reception at Buckingham Palace hosted by the Queen in July.

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are awarded to businesses for outstanding achievement in International Trade, Innovation and Sustainable Development, and are announced annually on April 21, the Queen’s birthday.

About 160 Queen’s Awards have been announced this year.