Boston branch of Thomas Cook (and all 554 others) to re-open

Natasha Walker and Nicola Lotts have joined Premier Travel in Bishop's Stortford after losing their jobs at Thomas Cook

In a move that could save up to 2,500 jobs, Hays Travel announced on Wednesday that it is to acquire 555 Thomas Cook stores from the Official Receiver.

Hays will add the outlets to its existing 190 shops to expand a business that's more online-focused than Thomas Cook was, founder and Managing Director John Hays said in an interview.

All 555 Thomas Cook stores are to be bought by Hays Travel, it has been revealed.

Public and private partners worked together to host the event at Manchester Airport, where former Thomas Cook staff were provided with advice and information.

Mr. Hays, who owns the business with wife Irene, said: "It is a game-changer for us, nearly trebling the number of shops we have and doubling our workforce - and for the industry, which will get to keep some of its most talented people".

Jim Tucker, partner at administrator KPMG, also added that the Hays deal "provides re-employment opportunities for a significant number of former Thomas Cook employees, and secures the future of retail sites up and down the United Kingdom high street".

The news comes following the collapse of rival Thomas Cook.

Following the appointment of the Official Receiver last month, Hays Travel have already recruited 421 former Thomas Cook personnel and have further offers outstanding to former employees.

The independent travel firm was formed 40 years ago by husband and wife team Irene and John Hays.

In coming to Hays Travel you can be assured that we will be doing our utmost to build upon all that was good about the much-loved Thomas Cook brand.

Meanwhile, MPs will grill Thomas Cook's former bosses next week over its collapse last month.

After the announcement on 23rd September that the company had entered compulsory liquidation, numerous companies and individuals have come forward to support former employees of the travel agent, hotels and airline operator.

EasyJet Chief Executive Johan Lundgren has said the airline is looking at Thomas Cook's assets, although it is not interested in buying Condor, Thomas Cook's German airline, which is still operating and has been offered a bridging loan by the German government.

Nick Wyatt, GlobalData's head of travel and tourism at R&A, also welcomed the news, but argued that the deal is not without its risks.

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