Toucan Travel is trading again after the agency group went into administration in October, when it had seven branches.
The Hampshire business is again being run on a day-to-day basis by Caroline Sawyer, regional manager, and Lisa Readings, operations manager, who had worked for Toucan’s founders.
The agency is now promoting its return with leaflet drops to its client database and marketing on Facebook, as it awaits its own Abta licences.
A report by KRE Corporate Recovery in December said Travelcorp Midlands bought “substantially all of the company’s business and assets” on November 13 for £100,000.
Travelcorp Midlands is a private investment platform established in May 2019 by four friends, including Wayne Darrock, chairman of Elite Travel Group.
Toucan has a simple website with contact details for four of the seven former branches: Toucan Travel shops in Chineham, Hook and Tadley, along with Hart Travel in Fleet.
A new bookable website will be launched within the next few weeks.
On November 26, it posed on its Facebook page: “Toucan Travel has been purchased by a highly respected and valued travel group.”
The agency recently distributed leaflets, featuring the contact details and addresses of the four branches.
The flyers said: “We are delighted to confirm that the Toucan Travel Group has been purchased by a highly respected and valued UK travel industry consortium.
“Our local travel teams are working diligently behind the scenes to prepare for reopening our travel stores as soon as possible and are looking forward to giving the same exceptional service that we have always aimed to offer over the past 38 years.”
The flyers also offer customers a £50 discount on selected holidays.
Established in 1982 by Terry and Barbara Thornhill, Toucan Travel had seven shops in the Hampshire and Berkshire areas. It also traded under the names Magical Tickets, Hart Travel, Winchester Travel Service and Peregrine Travel.
The report from the administrator said the remaining leases on the shops in Winchester, Thatcham and Odiham were ‘not economic’ so were to be surrendered back to the landlord.
Darrock said he and his fellow directors of Travelcorp were approached about Toucan after the administration.
They knew senior staff as Caroline Sawyer was a branch manager, who had been running the business on behalf of the founders.
“It was the first opportunity delivered to us of interest,” said Darrock.
“Caroline and Lisa are primarily running the business and managing it day-to-day, with a managing director soon to be appointed.
“It was always a successful company; it is a fantastic business.”
The agencies are temporarily using Abta and Atol licences from Alfendo Limited, a trading name of JTA Travel Group, until they get their own licences, which Darrock hopes will happen by the end of January.
Currently the staff of four are working from one shop, while they refit others and hope to re-open when restrictions are lifted.
Darrock said Travelcorp is still looking at other investment opportunities and has opened dialogue with a few other travel businesses.
“It’s been such a challenging time for the industry and we are here to help where we can if the right opportunity comes along,” he said.
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