Barrhead Travel, a wholly owned subsidiary of Travel Leaders Group, has announced a plan to open as many as 100 Barrhead-branded stores in the UK and rehire a significant number of former Thomas Cook employees as quickly as possible.
In a written statement Travel Leaders Group Chairman Mike Batt noted that, since Travel Leaders acquired Barrhead in February 2018, the company has been exploring expansion plans for the brand. “The situation with Thomas Cook has accelerated those plans,” Batt said. “We believe there is strong demand for the services provided by Barrhead Travel so we are moving full steam ahead with our growth strategy.”
The implementation of the proposal would significantly expand Barrhead Travel’s current footprint. At present, Barrhead Travel operates a network of 76 stores with a strong presence in Scotland, as well as locations in in Newcastle, Cumbria, Leicester, Southampton and Belfast.
“This plan could provide hundreds of available jobs for Thomas Cook employees who were displaced by the closure of the branches,” said Batt. “It would also ensure that the traveling public in communities across the UK have access to high quality travel services provided by professionals and operated by a strong, stable company.”
Travel Leaders also described the plan as a “major vote of confidence” in the future of the leisure travel industry in the UK.
Jacqueline Dobson, president of Barrhead Travel, said that the brand has launched a major recruitment drive among Thomas Cook employees and has already recruited a good number of ex-Thomas Cook workers. “The high street travel agency is very much alive in the UK and is pivotal in today’s holiday booking journey,” Dobson said.
The move makes Barrhead the latest company to step into the gap left by Thomas Cook, an iconic UK-based travel brand that filed for insolvency late last month, stranding hundreds of thousands of travelers abroad and prompting the UK’s largest repatriation effort since WWII. Also this week Hays Travel, a UK-based independent travel agency, announced it has acquired all of the former Thomas Cook storefronts in the UK, and that it has recruited over 400 former Thomas Cook employees with plans to reopen the storefronts under Hays Travel livery.
According to analysts familiar with the situation, a number of factors led to Thomas Cook’s collapse, some, like its accrued debt of approximately $2 billion, specific to the company. A decline in the value of the pound, which made overseas travel more expensive for those living in the UK, as well as uncertainty regarding Brexit and even unusually hot weather depressing demand for sun-and-sand getaways, were also factors.
Former Thomas Cook employees can contact the Barrhead Travel recruitment team at 0141-223-6655 to learn about the next steps or visit https://www.barrheadtravel.co.uk/careers/current-vacancies.