Agents in Ireland who lost their jobs with Thomas Cook and Budget Travel last year have set up as home-based agents for Travel Counsellors.
Raymond Lee had worked as a customer service manager at the Grafton Street branch of Thomas Cook in Dublin for eight years when the travel giant decided to close its two Dublin branches and pull out of Ireland completely.
He was among a number of employees who protested in the street and staged a sit-in in the Grafton Street branch to fight the closures.
“I felt we were not treated very well, especially since I considered myself very dedicated to my job and the company. We stood up for what we believed in,” he said.
Lee has now set up as a travel counsellor at his home in Drumcondra, Dublin.
“I always wanted my own business and I was able to start up right away after a bit of training,” he added.
“A lot of my customers were very loyal and kept in touch when the shop was closing and others have found me online. I’ve had a fantastic start to January.”
Two former employees of Budget Travel, the large Irish tour operator which collapsed in November last year, are also about to become Travel Counsellors agents and are attending training at its head office this week.
Travel Counsellors managing director Steve Byrne said: “There is no doubt it has been a tough year for many agents, with redundancies and shop closures making people re-evaluate their situations, and there is a real risk that the travel industry will lose experienced agents with fantastic customer service skills because of this.
“We at Travel Counsellors have shown it is possible for these agents to continue to work in the industry they love and provide the best service to their customers.”