Independent travel agent opens new branch to meet 'pent-up demand' post-lockdown

Fred. Olsen Travel will open their new Beccles branch in April.

Managing director Steve Williams, branch manager Stacey Hammond and head of commercial Paul Hardwick outside Fred. Olsen's new Beccles branch - Credit: Fred. Olsen Travel

An independent travel agency will open a new branch in Beccles once lockdown restrictions are lifted further in April.

Fred. Olsen Travel will open at 15a New Market from April 12, with staff working behind the scenes already.

The store has been empty for just a matter of months following the relocation of Sweeties to the larger store next door

Managing director Steve Williams said: "We have been looking to invest in Beccles for some time, but due to the outbreak of Covid, we had to shelve our plans.

"It is a great town and I see it as a natural addition to our portfolio of agencies in the area."

Stacey Hammond, branch manager at Fred. Olsen Travel in Beccles.

Stacey Hammond, branch manager at Fred. Olsen Travel in Beccles. - Credit: Fred. Olsen Travel

The team will be led by branch manager Stacey Hammond, who has lived in Beccles all her life.

She said: "Although clients can't come into the agency until the lockdown restrictions are lifted on April 12, we are available to clients now by phone or email, and we look forward to helping clients with their travel arrangements.

"There is no doubt there is pent-up demand from clients that can't wait to start travelling again when restrictions allow, so I am excited about the prospects for our new agency."

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The new branch will take the company's East Anglian tally to 10, with other branches in Norwich, Ipswich, Felixstowe, Bury St Edmunds and Colchester.

Paul Hardwick, head of commercial for the company, said: "We are naturally delighted, as an independent travel agent, to be able to bring our range of choice and excellent customer service to the people of Beccles and the surrounding area.

"Our new manager Stacey is very excited at the prospect of welcoming clients through the doors into the refurbished shop when the high street reopens on April 12.

"Stacey has worked in the travel industry since 2006 and is passionate about travel, with good experience of South Africa, safaris, Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Europe, Middle and Far East, USA, Australia and, in particular, the Caribbean."

Non-essential shops are set to reopen from April 12 as part of the government's roadmap out of lockdown, with communities secretary Robert Jenrick announcing last week that retailers can stay open until 10pm six days a week to help customers avoid peak times.

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