THE UK’S fastest growing independent travel firm has defied Brexit scaremongering to sell a record £1 million worth of holidays in just one day.
The boss of Hays Travel North West, which has its head office in Wrexham’s Lord Street and stores in Rhyl, Colwyn Bay, Connah’s Quay, Flint and Mold, said ‘Brexit scaremongering’ was doing nothing to put off a ‘resilient’ British public from booking their holidays in the sun.
Don Bircham, Managing Director of Hays Travel North West, which has opened 11 new stores over the last year, said: “We now have a fix on how we are performing, during what is the busiest month of the year for us and hugely important within the industry as a whole.
“It’s when some of the best deals and discounts are available and the time when people are really looking to plan something to look forward to.
“We had a bumper January last year and so I have been astounded with the results for 2019 so far.
“Even if we take out the 11 stores we have opened over the last year, we are still 10 per cent up in terms of passenger numbers and holiday sales which is a fantastic boost.
“We have also just had our busiest sales day in the history of the company. The second Saturday in January is always a key day in the calendar for us and our stores made close to £1m worth of holiday sales in just that one day.”
Don added: “There has been a lot of Brexit scaremongering, talk of high costs of visas, having to change passports, huge queues at airports and flights being grounded but I just can’t see this happening at all.
“I am very pleased to see that the British public are ignoring this too and getting on and booking their holidays with us.
“Why would people in mainland Europe want to stop the British arriving en masse to enjoy their holidays with them? We have been going there for decades and spending millions of pounds.
“It is absolutely within their best interests that they continue to welcome the British to enjoy their holidays in as smooth a way as possible and that’s certainly what we are hearing within the industry, both here and abroad.
“There is nothing to suggest that holidays won’t go ahead as planned before or after Brexit, whatever is eventually decided.
“Our busy January has shown that people are still booking holidays in mainland Europe in their droves. Spain, Greece, Portugal continue to be the most popular destinations alongside longer haul to such as Mexico, the Caribbean, the USA and cruise holidays.
“It’s clear that it will take much more than Brexit to put people off booking their holidays in their much-loved and preferred European destinations.”
Hays Travel North West, which is fully ABTA and ATOL-registered, launched a major expansion scheme at the end of last year and the firm now has 35 branches across the North West and North Wales and this is expected to rise to 50 within the next 18 months.
The latest push has been in Cheshire and Greater Manchester with new stores opening in Didsbury, Rochdale, Runcorn and Ashton-under-Lyne.
New units have also been identified in Macclesfield, Northwich, Formby, Bury, Cheadle, and Oldham with some already undergoing refurbishments ready for opening later in the year.
Don, a father-of-two, set up his business with a single travel agency in Mold town centre, in Flintshire, in 2000.
His network of travel agencies are now the main partner of the hugely successful Hays Travel, based in Sunderland, which has just announced a turnover of more than £1bn and is the UK’s largest independent travel agency.
At the end of last year Don’s firm announced a turnover of more than £70m for the first time and this year the expanding business is aiming to provide £100m of holidays.