HARVEY World Travel UK managing director John Donnelly
has pledged to get a dozen agencies signed up to the franchise
operation by the end of the year.

Since plans for a new agency network under the Australian brand
were announced last week, exclusively by Travel Weekly, Donnelly
said he had been inundated with e-mails and calls from suppliers,
agents and job applicants and
targets for growth remained “very realistic”.

Donnelly said he would be offering agents “excitement,
variation, innovation” and the chance for them to earn
“bloody good money”.

“There are a lot of good travel agents out there and
they’ll be looking to cuddle up to someone and get the
benefits of commercial deals and alternative products,” he
said.

HWT announced to the Australian stock exchange last week its
plans to open 70 UK agencies by the end of its
financial year next June, and 170 by June 2006.

The company is predicting the UK will make a pre-tax loss of
£1.2 million next year, with a £1.3 million pre-tax
profit in 2006. The investment to launch the UK arm is £6.5
million.

Head office functions will be based in Wolverhampton following
the sale of Travel Fac-tory, Donnelly’s agency and affinity
business, to HWT.

A total of 15 staff are currently being recruited for head
office functions including commercial, IT and operations.
The Midlands is set to be the first area earmarked for agency
growth, followed by a move south towards London. Its UK operation
is expected to act as a springboard for the northern
hemisphere.

Donnelly said agents will be able to make use of HWT’s tour
operation Harvey’s Choice, a joint venture with Qantas, which
specialises in tours to Australia, New Zealand and South
Africa.