Three newly-established travel agents have encouraged anyone thinking of becoming an agent or setting up on their own after redundancy to “just do it”.

Graham Bishop, Joanna Guest, and Darryl Gardner all previously worked in sales roles for tour operators but were made redundant last year as a result the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on trading.

Despite the challenges, all three have successfully found jobs as travel agents. They urged others to follow their dreams to stay in the industry.

Bishop, previously key account manager for London and the Southeast for G Touring, has set up his own Go Gruise & Travel With Graham franchise, relocating to Cornwall to run his business.

Speaking on a Travel Weekly webcast, he said: “My advice to anyone thinking of going on their own and becoming self-employed is ‘just do it’! When you start to see the commissions coming in you wonder why you didn’t do it before. The business has to go somewhere, why not let it be you?”

Guest, former senior sales manager for the UK for AAT Kings, advised those on the lookout for work in the industry to stay positive, adding there was “always a silver lining”.

Guest, now an agent and head of cruise at homeworking firm Bordessa Holidays, said: “Never say never to anything if you are passionate about staying in the industry. There are so many more opportunities now.”

She added: “Homeworkers haven’t had to adapt their businesses as much [in the pandemic] and I think operators going forward will really want to work with homeworkers a lot more than previously and a lot of companies are looking to grow and expand.”

Gardner considered obtaining a lorry licence in order to find a new job after being made redundant from his job as key account manager for the Southwest and Wales for G Adventures.

He admitted it had been a hard time for his family. “My poor wife had to put up with being in foul moods for several months. But I wanted to stay in travel and Graham [Bishop] inspired me as he had set up his own business and I thought ‘I can do this’,” he said.

He added: “I always said I wouldn’t be a travel agent but now I am really happy, in a great position. I am self-employed and it’s great to have remained in travel.”