Mike Gooley, who fought terrorism while in the SAS in the 1960s, has again had to fight against its effects – this time as owner of one of the country’s largest independent travel agencies, hit by the downturn in the travel industry after 11th September. Trailfinders, founded in 1970, was initially dependent on postal bookings and almost failed to get off the ground when its launch coincided with a four month long postal strike. It had built sales to £459m by the year to February 2002, when it had 1,020 staff, and now has 10 travel shops in the UK, five in Australia and one in Ireland. The company defines sales as the total gross value of goods sold, such as plane tickets and travel insurance, and not the net commission earned on these transactions.
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