Husband-and-wife team John and Irene Hays, 71 and 66 respectively, opened their first travel agency in Co Durham in 1980, and booked £1.1bn worth of air travel, cruises and accommodation last year. Last October the group acquired the shops and customers of Thomas Cook, which had collapsed the previous month, adding 2,000 of its former employees to the payroll. During the pandemic, it won a contract for some of its customer service staff to work on the government’s contact-tracing schemes. In August it warned that 878 roles were at risk after changes to travel quarantine rules. This month it acquired the Welsh firm Tailor Made Travel out of administration, saving 100 jobs.
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