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Tour operator Biblio Travel to launch in the UK with trade focus

New tour operator Biblio Travel is set to launch in the UK in January 2021, headed by former Olympic Holidays chief executive Clare Tobin as managing director.

It expects more than 90% of its sales to come through the trade and is promising “complete price-parity and attractive commission levels” for agents.

The new company will be a subsidiary of Biblio Globus, Russia’s biggest tour operator and the largest DMC in Cyprus, the destination the UK arm will focus on initially. Biblio Globus carries more than three million passengers on holiday a year.

Biblio Travel, which has received £41 million backing from its parent company, will charter aircraft for the UK market, and will fly into Cypriot resorts from Gatwick, Manchester and Birmingham, with additional capacity from Heathrow. Further destinations will be added later.

The majority of the dedicated UK tour operations staff will be based in Biblio Travel’s head office in Cyprus, with Tobin’s senior management team driving the expansion of UK operations.

Tobin has recruited Ruth Hilton as deputy managing director and Tina Hodge as sales director. Hilton has more than 25 years’ experience in the travel industry at Airtours, Co-op Travel, Gold Medal and The Travel Corporation. She will leave her role as commercial director at TAG to join Biblio Travel. Hodge previously held senior account manager roles at Emirates Holidays, Gold Medal and Thomas Cook.

Although Biblio Travel will be launching a B2C website it expects that more than 90% of its sales to come from travel agency partners and is in the process of signing deals to create a distribution network to support its programme, Tobin said.

Biblio Travel packages will be available on the Traveltek platform as well as other trade platforms, she added.

Price parity

“A key part of Biblio Travel’s pledge is to offer complete price parity offline to online, while paying attractive commission levels to trade partners, many of whom wish to move away from riskier dynamic packaging options in a Covid-19-impacted travel environment,” explained Tobin.

Tobin spent the past three years at Olympic Holidays, the independent operator specialising in holidays to Cyprus and Greece. This followed 17 years with Tui Travel/First Choice Group where she held senior board positions. In her earlier career Tobin was responsible for contracting and product enhancement in Cyprus.

She said: “I am excited about this opportunity to develop a new UK entrant that will give the trade another operator of quality and choice. Cyprus is a favourite destination for the UK market and is an area that I know and love.”

Tobin added: “Capacity to Cyprus from the UK market has seen dramatic cuts in the last two seasons with the demise of Thomas Cook and reduction in capacity from other tour operators. Cyprus is a perfect first destination for us to enter the UK market.

“Our buying power and low-cost charters guarantee we will be highly competitive on quality and price. From five-star boutique properties to two-star self-catering, and from well-known favourites to some new properties into the UK market, our breadth of product and knowledge of Cyprus will ensure we will be a comprehensive go-to operator.”

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