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Thousands of jobs could be saved as Sunderland based Hays Travel buys 555 Thomas Cook stores

Credit: Lewis Stickley/PA Archive/PA Images

Thousands of jobs could be saved as independent travel agent Hays Travel based in Sunderland has agreed to buy the 'entire retail portfolio' of 555 Thomas Cook stores.

Hays has already recruited or offered work to hundreds of former Thomas Cook staff after the holiday company collapsed last month.

Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Archive/PA Images

Hays Travel is proposing to re-open the stores with immediate effect where possible and to take on up to 2,500 people.

Over 100 new jobs will be based at the company’s Sunderland headquarters with the rest in shops across the UK.

John and Irene Hays, managing director and group chair of Hays Travel, said:

In the last two weeks we have already employed or offered jobs to around 600 former Thomas Cook colleagues, and it has been a very emotional experience for them.

Now that we are able to re-open the shops, we are looking forward to welcoming many more people who share our passion for the travel industry, into our family business.

I’m very proud of the fantastic team who have helped me build Hays Travel over almost 40 years and they have worked tirelessly over the last couple of weeks to bring this about.

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.

– John and Irene Hays

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When news of Thomas Cook's collapse broke, John Hays, Managing Director of Hays Travel, told ITV News Tyne Tees,

The future of travel is to give customers what they want.

A lot of customers want to book online, and a lot of people want face to face service.

I think Thomas Cook were adapting but they were behind the curve... the volume of debt was always going to be a drag.

– John Hays, speaking in September

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