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The number of new job vacancies in travel has reached the highest level in over two years, according to the latest data from C&M Recruitment.

The firm’s monthly Travel Salary Index found candidate registrations more than doubled and in January travel salaries for roles being recruited for rose strongly.

However, salary levels were still down compared to 2013’s encouraging start to the year when executive recruitment was strong.

The number of new travel vacancies being created last month rose by 13% compared to December.

C&M said this means more new jobs were made available in January than in any month for over two years.

The index surveyed all new vacancies registered with C&M Recruitment Consultancy and sister firm Chisholm & Moore Executive Recruitment in the month.

Applicant numbers more than doubled in January, beating the increase seen during the same month last year.

Barbara Kolosinska, sales director at C&M Recruitment Consultancy and Chisholm & Moore Executive Recruitment, said: “This really is a fantastic start to the year. To see so many travel companies looking to take on new staff is great news for the entire industry and bodes well for the year ahead.

“We also saw a big rise in the number of new candidates looking for a new role in travel, indicating that competition for jobs is likely to remain strong well into 2014.”

The index also found that average salaries for new travel roles rose by 3.41% (or £792) in January to reach £24,030.

However, the figure was down compared to the beginning of last year when a large number of higher-paid executive roles pushed average salaries higher than normal.

Kolosinska added: “We’ve had a very strong January and it’s really exciting to see that the year has got off to a positive start.

“The average new travel salary has increased by 3.41% in the month, which is clearly a very healthy way to begin 2014.

“The first few months of the year are always a busy time in the recruitment sector with lots of candidates and companies making plans for the year ahead, so it’s very encouraging to see that many travel firms are already looking to increase their salaries in order to get the best recruits for their team.”