Tobin heads new Cyprus specialist firm Biblio Travel

Lucy Huxley

New operator Biblio Travel is to launch in the UK in January, headed by former Olympic Holidays chief executive Clare Tobin as managing director. It expects more than 90% of sales

to come via the trade and promises “complete price-parity and attractive commission levels” for agents. The new company is a subsidiary

of Biblio Globus, Russia’s biggest tour operator and the largest DMC in Cyprus, the destination the UK arm will focus on initially. Biblio Globus carries more than three million

passengers on holiday a year. Biblio Travel, which is being set

up with £41 million in backing from its parent, will charter aircraft for the UK market and fly to Cypriot resorts from Gatwick, Manchester and Birmingham, with additional capacity from Heathrow. Further destinations will be added. Tobin has recruited Ruth Hilton,

formerly of Airtours, The Co-op Travel Group, Gold Medal and The Travel Corporation, as deputy managing director, and Tina Hodge, who has held senior account manager roles at Emirates Holidays, Gold Medal and Thomas Cook, as sales director.

Clare Tobin

Ruth Hilton

Tina Hodge

Biblio is signing deals to create

a distribution network, Tobin said. Packages will be available via Traveltek and other trade platforms, she added, noting a “key part of Biblio Travel’s pledge is to offer complete price parity offline to online, while paying attractive commission levels to trade partners”. Tobin had worked for Cyprus and

Greece specialist operator Olympic Holidays for three years until March, and previously held senior positions at Tui Travel/First Choice Group, where she worked for 17 years. In her earlier career she was responsible for

product and contracting in Cyprus. She expects agents to avoid

dynamic packaging post-Covid, and said the new entrant to the UK market “will give the trade another operator of quality and choice”, with hotels offered by Biblio Travel ranging from two to five-star. Tobin said there had been

“dramatic cuts” to Cyprus capacity in the past two seasons, with the demise of Thomas Cook and reductions from other operators, and claimed Biblio’s buying power and low-cost charters “guarantee we will be highly competitive on quality and price”.

Abta seeks members to front adverts Ben Ireland

Abta is seeking members to volunteer to be front and centre of its annual Travel with Confidence consumer campaign this year. The association has asked the

trade to submit selfie videos of up to 60 seconds to be used on social media advertising as it looks to build confidence in travel and promote the value of booking with experts. Selected clips will be edited by

a video production company and shared on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter when the campaign launches after Christmas. Shelly Beresford, Abta’s head of

brand and marketing, said: “Through this year’s campaign we want to really

celebrate the role and value of an Abta travel professional, particularly emphasising the expertise they bring to help people book with confidence. “It doesn’t matter who you are

or what type of holidays you sell, we want to hear from you. We are not looking for a professional, polished interview scenario. The theme is authenticity – real people, real knowledge and expertise, and real experience of travel.” Full videos will also be featured

across Abta’s channels. More information can be found on the Member Zone of its website. Abta’s promotion of authenticity

came as consumer site Which? warned holidaymakers off using online travel booking and price

comparison sites, which fared poorly in a survey of 5,000 people. The watchdog urged

holidaymakers to book direct, or with a “trusted tour operator”, but made

no mention of travel agents in its recommendation. Rory Boland, editor of Which?

Travel, said booking sites had been seen as “a hassle-free way to find the best deal” but said the survey “highlights serious problems, from dodgy refund policies and unwelcome admin fees, to non-existent customer service.” He added: “The best way to ensure

your money is in safe hands is to book a package, hotel or flight directly, and only with a reputable provider.” hit back at

Which? for “failing to understand the extremely complex travel ecosystem”. The OTA said the survey “doesn’t

reflect the extreme circumstances of Covid-19”.

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