Hays Travel has launched a recruitment drive as it continues to reopen its shops and reports a growing demand for travel bookings.

During lockdown, the UK’s largest high street travel agency has had 3,000 retail staff working from home managing cancellations, refunds and re-booking after half of the workforce was originally furloughed.

It is now looking to recruit experienced travel agents to help the bounce back from the coronavirus crisis, as well as relaunch a pre-pandemic drive to recruit 700 apprentices.

The firm has begun reopening its 650 branches, and hopes to welcome customers at them all by the beginning of July. Social distancing measures are being implemented in-store, and customers are able to contact the agency online, on the phone or via video calls.

Hays Travel said “many customers” are now booking holidays for later this year or 2021, with popular destinations including Greece, the Balearics and the Canaries.

Chair and joint owner, Irene Hays, said: “During the months of lockdown, many things have changed.

“We have some colleagues who were due to leave anyway, some who have decided on a change of lifestyle and some who will be taking maternity leave soon.

“There will be people in the travel industry who are looking at their options just now and we want to let them know we are recruiting.

“We will welcome people with the right skills and experience who can do their bit to help our industry recover and help more people get a holiday to look forward to.”

On the revival of the apprenticeship drive, Hays added: “By September there will be lots of school leavers who might be interested in a career in travel and our paid apprenticeships, with a job at the end of them, are a fantastic opportunity.”

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