Former Tui commercial manager Shaun Taylor has moved into the travel agency sector, with the opening of his first store in Bourne, Lincolnshire.

Taylor was made redundant from his role as senior commercial manager at the Tui Group last March when the pandemic struck.

He was at Tui for two years, and previously had worked for Thomas Cook in commercial and treasury roles for a decade.

After his redundancy, Taylor joined Inspire Travel and has been undergoing training, developing his own business plan and looking for the ideal premises to run his own travel business.

Taylor said: “I have always wanted to run my own travel business, and when I saw the store in Bourne’s Abbey Road become vacant, I jumped at the chance.”

Inspire Travel by Shaun was officially opened on June 5 and – despite the government’s green list changes a few days beforehand – Taylor said he was “pleasantly surprised” by the number of local people who popped in.

More: Lisa Henning to join Inspire Group as managing director

He added: “The idea of the opening was never about selling a holiday on the day but more about inviting passers-by in to say hello and generate interest for 2022 holidays.

“I am delighted that a number of appointments were made for the following week, and everyone who came in was really positive about having a travel agent back in town. There was lots of interest but, naturally, also some concerns too.

“The travel industry has been hit really hard by the pandemic, but we know there is a huge pent-up demand. When more destinations are eventually added to the green list, there will be a massive rush to get away.

“If there is one thing that the pandemic has shown us is that the role of the travel agent has never been so important.  The value we add and the peace of mind we provide to customers is enormous and never more so than now with the changing landscape we are operating in.”

Lisa Henning, managing director of Cheshire-based tour operator and travel agency Inspire Travel, added: “We are delighted to be helping Shaun fulfil his career ambition of opening his own travel store and wish him every success.

“Inspire Travel has been established for more than 20 years and has a wealth of experience of supporting its team with running their own businesses.

“With Shaun’s vast travel knowledge, we have every confidence that he will be very successful with his new venture.”