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5 2


Long-serving agent ‘was life and soul of store’


Juliet Dennis juliet.dennis@travelweekly.co.uk


Colleagues of long-serving Thomas Cook agent Susan Cooper have paid tribute to their “good friend” after her sudden death on holiday in Egypt last week.


Susan, who worked at the company’s Burnley store, had been with the company for 16 years. She died just hours after her husband John passed away last Tuesday in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada while on a Thomas Cook holiday. Details surrounding their deaths remain unclear and an investigation is under way. Colleagues at the Burnley store said she was upbeat and fun and would be sorely missed. The


branch closed last Thursday for five days as a mark of respect. In a statement, they said: “Susan


was the life and soul of our store. She always had a smile on her face and made us and our customers laugh every day. Susan was not just our colleague, but also our good friend and we will miss her dearly. “We are so grateful for all the messages we’ve received from customers and businesses in the local area, as well as our colleagues across the business.” Cook’s UK chief, Ingo Burmester,


said: “We are deeply saddened by the deaths of two of our customers while on holiday in Hurghada in Egypt, one of whom was a loyal and long-serving member of our Thomas Cook family.” Agents described the news as


“heartbreaking” and extended their “deepest sympathy” to Susan’s family in a string of tributes on social media. The tragedy comes as the trade gears up for the key booking period for Egypt, a winter-sun destination, and follows a series of tourism setbacks. A UK flight ban to Sharm el-Sheikh has been in place since a terrorist attack in 2015, with Egyptian tourist authorities focusing efforts on Hurghada instead. Alan Bowen, legal adviser


Susan Cooper worked for Cook for 16 years


to the Association of Atol Companies, said: “This is the first year they have [really] promoted Hurghada and it’s become a big destination. This [incident] has the potential to seriously damage tourism in Egypt.”


Lucy addresses the audience


Huxley christens Azamara Pursuit


Harry Kemble Southampton


Travel Weekly editor-in-chief Lucy Huxley has christened Azamara Club Cruises’ newest vessel, Azamara Pursuit, in her role as the ship’s co-godmother.


UK-based agents and cruise line


bosses watched as Huxley officially launched the 777-passenger vessel in Southampton with co- godmother Ellen Asmodeo-Giglio, of US-based travel magazine Afar. It is the first time Azamara has


appointed godmothers for one of its ships. Huxley, who has reported on the industry for 21 years, said: “It is with a sense of great pride that I address you as one of the godmothers of this beautiful ship. “I am grateful to have the opportunity to stand before you all on behalf of the travel trade, who are so important to Azamara Club Cruises, and particularly on behalf of the wonderful readers of my own publication, Travel Weekly, without whom I would not be here now. My passion for the industry has been driven by its commitment to perpetual innovation, evolution,


“I am grateful to stand before you on behalf of the travel trade, who are so important to Azamara”


sometimes revolution, continually pushing boundaries and curating experiences that will last a lifetime. “Nowhere is this commitment


to richly-rewarding and culturally- immersive experiences more apparent than in the work of Azamara Club Cruises, which makes it even more special to be here to christen this wonderful


ship, Azamara Pursuit.” Pursuit was refurbished having been acquired from P&O Cruises, for which it sailed under the name Adonia. Azamara Club Cruises president and chief executive Larry Pimentel said Huxley was chosen for her “enthusiasm and drive for the industry” and as someone from


the UK who “always serves agents”. Pursuit’s inaugural sailing is a 13-night itinerary from Southampton to Barcelona, departing today. It will then be based in Europe for two months.


30 August 2018 travelweekly.co.uk 5 3 STORIES HOT


PICTURE: REX/SHUTTERSTOCK


PICTURE: STEVE DUNLOP


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