Riches to leave as restructures

Riches to leave as restructures group sales and marketing director Paul Riches is to leave the company in August as part of a restructure.

Riches, who was the first employee of Youtravel when it was set up four years ago, is leaving by mutual agreement as the firm moves to focus on growing its international business.

Former Teletext Holidays managing director Matt Cheevers, currently Youtravel development director, has been appointed into the new role of group UK and international sales and marketing director, reporting directly to group managing director Graham Nichols.

Current national sales manager Liz Garfield has been promoted to UK head of sales.

The announcement comes as Youtravel reports record profits of 1.55 million euros in the year to October 31 2010, more than double the previous year.

Nichols describes this as an outstanding performance in a year when Kiss Flights and Goldtrail failed, there was an ash cloud crisis and a continuing global recession.

“This is the toughest market we’ve seen for years across the board for tour operators, dynamic packaging companies and airlines alike.”

Group chairman John Kent said Youtravel would have made 2.5 million euros had 2010 not been such a turbulent year.

Currently 85% of the company’s business comes from the UK market and Nichols said the focus now was to grow internationally.

He said: “We said it last year but we didn’t make the investment we would have liked to. With the results we’ve just reported, we now can and have already recruited a sales person in Germany.”

Nichols said further growth in the UK would be good but limited, since trade brand already works with most of the leading dynamic packaging agents.

He said Youhotels would be well positioned to take advantage of the 2011 market, which is later than ever.

“We’ve seen bookings increase by 15% compared to last week but there are continued pressures on revenue and margins.

“The next few weeks trading are crucial for the UK travel industry and all eyes are watching sales levels in every business in our industry.”


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