Kuoni  UK has appointed ex-Virgin Holidays general manager of trade and retail sales Kieran Farragher to the new position of head of trade relations.

Farragher, who left Virgin Holidays in October 2007 after seven years, starts in the new role on March 17 and will oversee a team of 11 staff, including three new regionally-based business development executives currently being appointed.

Sales director Manuel Mascarenhas said Farragher’s team will be responsible for managing trade relationships at all levels.

He added: “Travel agents are crucial to our future distribution strategy which is all about building stronger and more profitable long term partnerships to help sell our quality products.”

Kuoni also plans to develop its existing agent training programme and online trade booking system, and install dedicated trade support staff based in its sales centre, he said.