World Travel Holdings will manage and develop all of Sunderland-based Hays' current cruise business outside of the Hays Travel Independence Group – a consortium of independent travel agents acting under the Hays’ banner - including the Hays cruise website, cruise call centre and cruise representation in the company’s 43 high street shops.
The partnership also includes a joint venture which will see the launch of a new long haul tour operator SixStarHolidays.co.uk to provide high end, luxury holidays and will use the existing customer base of Hays Travel and WTH (UK).
Mal Barritt and James Cole, both co-founders of WTH (UK), will join by Hays Travel’s John and Irene Hays on the board of the SixStarHolidays.
World Travel Holdings UK has become a member of the Hays Travel Independence Group.
Hays Travel and WTH (UK) have a combined turnover of more than £1bn.
John Hays, founder and managing Director of Hays Travel, said: “We have worked with James Cole, Mal Barritt and Jeff Tolkin, CEO of World Travel Holdings, for over a year now on the development of parts of their fast growing cruise business within the Hays Travel Independence Group.
“It has been a delight to work with such dynamic, ambitious and talented people. As well as being a lot of fun - a criterion which has always been important to us.
“I am delighted to be extending our working relationship in this way, which fits with Hays Travel's strategy of partnering with 'best in class'.
“Our team are all very excited at the prospects.”
Hays Travel has also announced it has signed a contract to move its GDS, Global Distribution System, business from Amadeus to Travelport to supply its digital marketing partnerships and services in addition to air and hotel content.
It is claimed that Travelport will bring “significant’’