Two former Co-op Travelmaker colleagues have signalled their confidence in the future of the travel industry by launching an independent agency called Travel by Design.
Travel specialists Duncan Ashley and Julie Law both worked for Travelmaker for a number of years before it closed its doors in January 2021. The closure, however, prompted the pair to set up their own travel venture, which will offer continuity for customers who had preciously booked with Travelmaker.
The new company is linked with Midcounties Co-operative Travel as a consortia member but will trade under its own name. The Channel Islands Co-operative Society has supported Travel by Design in setting up the business and ensuring the shop, located at 22 La Colomberie, is ready to open.
Julie, who has over 20 years in the travel industry, said: “Duncan and I are really looking forward to running our own business. We can continue to provide a service to our loyal customers and offer new clients that personal contact and advice to help make their dream holiday a reality. Our belief is that it is important to maintain a presence on the high street where customers can be welcomed through the doors and chat through their holiday aspirations face to face.
‘We will remain a point of contact for Travelmaker customers who have been booking with us for many years. Through our membership with Co-operative Travel and along with the strong links we have built with travel providers and tour operators, we are relishing the next chapter.”
Duncan, who has previous experience managing Lunn Poly and Thomson before working at Travelmaker, acknowledges it has been a challenging year for the industry. “In these challenging times opening a travel agency might at first appear risky. However, we are confident that travel will recover and there will be a pent-up demand for holidays from consumers wanting to make up for lost time.
“We are grateful for the support provided by the Co-op in setting up Travel by Design as this has given us the confidence to continue with our passion for travel and take our own business forward. We look forward to welcoming new and familiar faces.”
Mark Cox, Chief Executive Officer of The Channel Islands Co-operative Society, added: “We are delighted that Duncan and Julie have been able to launch Travel by Design and wish them every success.
It was an incredibly hard decision for the Co-op to close Travelmaker as it was a much-loved local business. Duncan and Julie have been valued colleagues for many years so offering them support and guidance throughout the process of registering and launching Travel by Design was a real pleasure.”
Over 100 existing Travelmaker bookings have been transferred across to Travel by Design where they will continue to have full ABTA protection.