Travel 2 loss ‘will be opportunity’ Juliet Dennis

Agents say operators will have an opportunity to fill the gap left by Travel 2 as they take in news of the potential loss of a much-loved brand. Parent company dnata Travel

Group has started a 45-day consultation period about merging sister trade-only tour operators Travel 2 and Gold Medal. A merger would mean the end

of Travel 2’s brand and closure of its Glasgow offices, with marketing and management functions and the majority of the sales team centralised at Gold Medal’s headquarters in Leyland, Lancashire. Dnata confirmed the Pure Luxury, Cruise Plus and Incredible Journeys brands would be retained under the plans, and some homeworking roles created in Glasgow. One agent called for a petition to

save Travel 2, while others hinted they may turn to rival operators if Travel 2 staff are not kept on. Joanne Dooey, president of

the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association, has written to John Bevan, dnata Travel’s chief executive for B2B brands in Europe, to voice concerns about the future of Travel 2’s staff in Scotland. Dooey, owner of Love to Travel,

said: “If staff go to other brands, agents will go with them.” Agents suggested If Only and JTA

Travel Group were likely to benefit from sales from those loyal to Travel 2. Jimmy Martin, owner of Jimmy

Martin Travel, said: “This is very emotional for Scottish agents. We speak to Travel 2 staff three or four times a week. There is an opportunity for another operator to take part of that business. We Know JTA personally.

Fred Olsen Cruise and Neilson plan staff redundancies

Lucy Huxley

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines has reiterated its commitment to the trade after announcing plans to restructure its head office functions and “reinvent” the business post-Covid-19. The five-ship line, which employs

220 people at its base in Ipswich, said “some redundancies” would be unavoidable as part of a business- wide consultation, but did not confirm how many roles were at risk.

6 25 JUNE 2020 Managing director Peter Deer

said: “The trade will continue to be exceptionally important and key to our future when we are able to get back in the water. Any restructure will not change this.” The company said “streamlining

operations” would cut costs by a third and insisted changes would be made “without affecting guest experience”. Deer added: “The Covid-19

pandemic has hit the cruise industry particularly hard. As a company we need to reinvent ourselves to

Peter Deer

John Bevan

We don’t know Gold Medal [staff].” Tailor Made Travel chief executive

Simon Morgan said the move was unlikely to impact his agency, which had a partnership with Travel 2 when it set up, but he admitted: “I’ve got store managers who have personal relationships with Travel 2 staff; if they are not carried forward into the new company my agents might use someone else. We will steer staff in a commercial direction, but these relationships are often irreplaceable.” Lakh Hayer, managing director of

Pure Destinations, agreed. He said: “Travel 2 staff used to regularly come to us. They did our bookings quickly. “We will use Gold Medal but new

relationships will have to be formed.” Dnata pledged to continue to

“proactively engage with our valued

agent partners” in future. i Get Social, page 19

ensure we come out of this stronger, and that our operations are run as efficiently as possible. “Unfortunately, this does mean

that there will be some redundancies as part of this process, because the way in which we will be working will be different.” But he said “a good number of

guests” were transferring bookings to next year. New bookings made for 2021 “shows there is confidence and demand for cruise”, he added. Fred Olsen’s restructure

followed Neilson Active Holidays’ announcement of a planned reduction in its UK workforce, with 28 roles at risk of redundancy. The company currently employs

about 100 staff at its Brighton head office. Chief executive David Taylor praised staff for “responding magnificently” to pay cuts, furlough, repatriation and refund requests. He said: “The impact of the

pandemic will see such a severe downturn in business during 2020 that job losses are unavoidable.”

PICTURE: Sarah Lucy Brown

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