A RADCLIFFE travel agent whose life was turned upside down by the collapse of the Thomas Cook empire has bounced back to open his own holiday business.

George Triggs had worked for the now-defunct firm and its acquisitions for close to two decades when it ceased trading in September last year.

However the devastating closure has inspired him to jet off on his own path as a self-employed travel counsellor.

The 34-year-old said: “I was absolutely gutted when Thomas Cook collapsed and it is still fresh in people’s minds.

“I’m just glad something good came out of something so negative.” 

Mr Triggs began working in the travel industry aged 17, taking his first job at Going Places, which was eventually swallowed up by Thomas Cook.

Over the years he worked across Greater Manchester and became an area manager, overseeing three stores in Leigh.

Speaking to the Bury Times, Mr Triggs recalled how staff were flooded with customers in tears in the days leading up to Thomas Cook’s collapse, as they feared they would lose their wedding and holiday bookings.

He said: “On the Saturday before we thought it was business as usual. 

“I was the manager so I had to reassure my staff and customers.

“Then on the day it happened I felt like my world had ended.

“It was hard because we were like one big family and it was like ripping that family apart. 

“We had no access to customers so everything was taken out of our hands.” 
Within days of the news that Thomas Cook was going out of business, however, Mr

Triggs had job offers to snap him up for other managerial roles at high street stores.

But he says that his heart has always beein in travel, leading him to decide to go it alone and set up his own business.

“My mum and dad always used to take us away to Majorca every year and from a young age I just loved travel because for me it’s an experience not just a holiday,” he said.

“I didn’t want to throw my experience in the travel industry away and it was not right for what I had built up over those 17 years.

“So in a matter of days I started up as a travel counsellor.”

Mr Triggs now works as an independent agent for the Manchester-based franchise company Travel Counsellors.

He works from his home to provide custom-made, ATOL-protected trips, from family holidays and UK mini breaks to weddings and round-the-world jaunts for single travellers.

Travel Counsellors also offers cutting-edge technology to help people find their perfect holiday, and its agents are available 24/7.

Mr Triggs said: “Becoming a travel counsellor has been absolutely fantastic, especially getting to meet people.

“It gives me so much flexibility and because I’m based in Radcliffe I’m part of the Bury community.

“I love what I’m doing and I’m already so busy that I have had to set up a team with two ex-colleagues.”

For more information about what he is now working on go online to www.travelcounsellors.co.uk/george.triggs