STA Travel is to open three high street branches and has started a recruitment drive for more than 20 staff.

The chain is to open stores in Chelmsford, Chester and Plymouth before the end of July. They will be based on the new-look store in Bristol.

Depending on space, the new stores could feature “auditorium” areas with touch-screen TVs to help customers plan their trips and clients will seat next to their consultant rather than across a desk.

Each shop will have four to five staff. The openings will bring STA Travel’s retail estate to 48.

Sales director Jackie Knell, who joined the group five weeks ago, compared the new concepts as similar to Apple stores.

She said: “We will be looking to add elements of the new look concepts in these stores. We have evolved from the standard travel agency and become more interactive.

“With news that Thomas Cook is closing stores, it’s great to show it’s not all about closures on the high street. We are expanding; it’s not all doom and gloom in the travel industry.”

The company has launched a two-week recruitment campaign for staff for the new branches and is recruiting store managers in London and the south.

STA Travel is also recruiting homeworkers for its Bridge The World luxury brand, which has one store in Leeds.

They would form a new division and be employed by the company and have sales leads fed to them. “We will start off with three or four,” said Knell.

The retailer also revealed plans to trial foreign exchange bureaux. Currently the company offers foreign currency ordered online.