BARRHEAD Travel has announced plans to open up to 100 new stores around the UK and “rehire a significant number of former Thomas Cook employees as quickly as possible”.

It follows news of drive to offer jobs to some former Thomas Cook employees and comes as Hays Travel took on more than 500 of the collapsed firm’s high street stores.

Barrhead Travel, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Travel Leaders Group, announced an ambitious plan to open as many as 100 Barrhead-branded stores in the UK and former Thomas Cook employees.

Barrhead was the first to offer Thomas Cook employees new roles after the collapse of the business in September.

READ MORE: Travel firm looks to hire former Thomas Cook staff

Mike Batt, Travel Leaders Group, said: “Since our acquisition of Barrhead Travel, we have been exploring ambitious expansion plans for this trusted brand.

“The situation with Thomas Cook has accelerated those plans.

“We believe there is strong demand for the services provided by Barrhead Travel so we are moving full steam ahead with our growth strategy.”

The implementation of the proposal would significantly expand Barrhead Travel’s current footprint.

At present, Barrhead Travel operates a network of 76 stores with a strong presence in Scotland, as well as locations in in Newcastle, Cumbria, Leicester, Southampton and Belfast.

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Mr Batt said: “This plan could provide hundreds of available jobs for Thomas Cook employees who were displaced by the closure of the branches.

“It would also ensure that the travelling public in communities across the UK have access to high quality travel services provided by 

professionals and operated by a strong, stable company.”

In February 2018, Barrhead Travel was acquired by Travel Leaders Group, one of the largest retail travel companies globally with more than 6,000 travel agency locations worldwide representing more than 52,000 travel agents spanning the US, Canada and Mexico, as well as the UK.

READ MORE: Scottish Thomas Cook stores bought by Hays Travel

Mr Batt also said: “We totally support what Hays Travel has done and believe it is good for the travel industry, the customers and great for staff.

“We see continuing demand for the services provided by the retail travel advisor and are excited to launch our growth strategy.

“We believe Barrhead Travel is well-positioned to service holiday-goers throughout the UK and hope to open new locations as soon as possible. Ever since we purchased Barrhead Travel, we have been making plans to expand the brand nationally.

“It’s a trusted brand with a great reputation and an outstanding employee culture.

“As far as a timeline, we plan to open new stores as soon as possible depending on finding the right locations and hiring experienced staff.”

Jacqueline Dobson, president of Barrhead Travel, said it has launched a major recruitment drive and has already recruited “a good number” of ex-Thomas Cook workers.

She said: “With the backing of Travel Leaders Group, we are looking forward to opening more Barrhead stores and helping our colleagues across the industry get back to serving their loyal clients.

“The high street travel agency is very much alive in the UK and is pivotal in today’s holiday booking journey.

“Customer experience and employee development remain our number one priority and this philosophy will be prominent across all of our new stores.”