Kuoni is to partner at least five independent travel agencies this year to create dual-branded shops in locations where the operator does not have high street shops.

The first agent to work with Kuoni is World Market Travel, a member of Worldchoice.

Under a three-year deal, the Bath-based shop will be refurbished and have a new fascia with its name and Kuoni’s over the door. Kuoni will pay for about half of the refurbishment.

Kuoni has set a target for the co-branded World Market Travel to take in excess of £1 million worth of Kuoni sales within three years.

Kuoni national sales manager Amanda Darrington said each staff member would be taken on a Kuoni educational and given product training. The operator will also market the shop to its customer database.

She said: “In an ideal world we’d have our own shop in Bath but we didn’t want to open one because we get such support from World Market Travel.”

Tim Giles, joint partner of World Market Travel, said part of the motivation for the deal was to protect business. “If Kuoni had moved into Bath it would have had a negative effect on us.”

The business, in its 30th year, will get a modern new look, inspired by Kuoni’s designs for its new shops.

The agency will continue to support Worldchoice’s preferred operators despite selling more Kuoni holidays, currently 20% of sales. “We have to sell what’s right for the customer, bearing in mind we will give priority to Kuoni,” added Giles.

Kuoni is in talks with two further agencies.

Distribution and operations vice-president Derek Jones added: “This is not a one-off. We see this as a way to protect our distribution.”