Over-50s specialist Saga Travel is to sell through travel agents for the first time from next month.

The tour operator, which is traditionally direct-sell but already sells cruises to the trade through sister operator Titan Travel, is recruiting an agency sales team to work from its head offices in Folkestone.

Chief executive Andrew Strong said: “This venture will put the option of a Saga Holiday or cruise in the nation’s high streets as well as on door mats. Feedback so far from agents is very positive. Our current customers like dealing with us direct but there are those that prefer to pop into their local travel agent.”

The key existing features offered by Saga holidays, such as included travel insurance, door-to-door travel on long-haul and cruise holidays and an experienced representative in resort, will be included for trade bookings.

A spokesman said some commercial agreements were already in place with travel agency groups. He added: “This is an ongoing process and the invitation is open to work with any agents who would like to offer our holidays to their customers.”

The operator, which features a range of holidays and escorted tours in Europe and worldwide, is promising a “very generous” commission rate to agents. It also offers river cruises and owns two cruise ships, Saga Pearl 11 and Saga Sapphire.

Trade-friendly brochures will be delivered to travel agencies through brochure distribution company BP Travel Marketing Services. Initially bookings will be taken via the operator’s call centre on a dedicated free phone number.

The first 50 travel agents who book will receive £50 worth of Love2shop vouchers.

Saga Travel carried more than 150,000 passengers and 26,000 cruise passengers during 2013.

Saga recently took a 75% share in online luxury tour operator Destinology.