AROUND 2,500 ex Thomas Cook employees could be handed a lifeline and travel agent rival Hays Travel has announced that it will buy 555 of the 563 Thomas Cook high street stores.
The independent travel agent, Hays Travel says it will rebrand the shops under their own name and will open them with immediate effect.
The company has already offered 600 former employees jobs and is urging other employees to apply to deal with its rapid expansion program.
John Hays, CEO of Hays Travel explained, “It is a game-changer for us, almost trebling the number of shops we have and doubling our workforce – and for the industry, which will get to keep some of its most talented people”.
In a current climate where Independent travel agents are struggling amongst their online rivals, Hays are seemingly bucking the trend and reported a total profit last year of £10 million from £329 million of sales.
Irene Hays, chair of Hays Travel, said, “Thomas Cook was a much-loved brand and a pillar of the UK and the global travel industry.”
Hays currently employs 1,900 staff and looks to employ around 2,500 more as part of its buyout, 100 of which will be based at the company’s headquarters in Sunderland.