ARE you sick of selling exotic holidays without having
any time to take one yourself?

In a bid to recruit more staff, agency chain Flight Centre has
upped its staff holiday entitlement by five days to 25 per
year.

The move means Flight Centre is now in line with the UK average
annual holiday entitlement of five weeks, and is streets ahead of
the rest of the industry.

Average holiday entitlement in travel is just 20 days, according
to travel trade union the Transport Salaried Staffs’
Association.

Agents working for Thomas Cook have to serve two years to get
five weeks’ holiday, while First Choice and Going Places
staff have to complete five years’ service to earn 25
days’ holiday.

Lunn Poly’s maximum annual entitlement is 24 days.

Flight Centre managing director Sue Garrett is confident the
additional five days will help it attract new recruits to fill its
70 vacancies in time for the peak January selling period.

“The travel industry needs to compete with other sectors if we
are to attract the right calibre of person,” she added.

The TSSA urged others to follow Flight Centre’s lead.

A spokeswoman said the trade’s massive 30% annual staff
turnover rate could be dramatically reduced with an industry-wide
increase in holiday entitlement.

“It’s ironic, given the industry they work in, that travel
staff are given less time off than their fellow UK employees.”

Greater time off would help reduce sickness levels and improve
staff retention, she said.

First Choice agents start with 20 days’ holiday and accrue
an extra day every year for five years, with a maximum entitlement
of 25 days.

New agents at Lunn Poly start with 21 days, rising to 24 based
on the length of service.

Going Places includes the eight UK bank holidays this year in
its annual entitlement, which means staff start with 28 days,
rising to 31 days after two years.

Thomas Cook offers 23 days a year, rising to 25 after two
years’ service.