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Premier Travel in Sudbury hopes new Covid restrictions will be short-lived as branch's second anniversary arrives



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The last surviving brick-and-mortar travel agency in Sudbury remains confident of the industry’s future despite the shifting Covid landscape, as it celebrates two years of trade.

Today, Premier Travel marks the second anniversary of its opening in the town, where it is the only remaining physical agency, following the closure of the local Hays and TUI branches since the pandemic began.

After opening at the Borehamgate precinct in late 2019, staff at Premier Travel have spent much of its time in business navigating multiple lockdowns, as well as dealing with rapidly-changing travel restrictions.

Branch Manager, Diane Buck (L) and Senior Sales Consultant, Clare Masterson (R) celebrate the second anniversary of the opeing of Premier Travel in Sudbury..Pic - Richard Marsham. (53424302)
Branch Manager, Diane Buck (L) and Senior Sales Consultant, Clare Masterson (R) celebrate the second anniversary of the opeing of Premier Travel in Sudbury..Pic - Richard Marsham. (53424302)

The Government implemented new regulations this week, in response to the new Omicron variant of Covid, while several countries have instituted travel bans.

Anybody entering or returning to the UK is now required to pay for and take a PCR test within two days of their arrival, and they must self-isolate until they receive a negative result.

Diane Buck, branch manager at Premier Travel in Sudbury, explained that, prior to this latest rule change, the travel industry had begun to bounce back positively over recent months.

Branch Manager, Diane Buck (R) and Senior Sales Consultant, Clare Masterson (L) celebrate the second anniversary of the opeing of Premier Travel in Sudbury..Pic - Richard Marsham. (53424285)
Branch Manager, Diane Buck (R) and Senior Sales Consultant, Clare Masterson (L) celebrate the second anniversary of the opeing of Premier Travel in Sudbury..Pic - Richard Marsham. (53424285)

She told Suffolk News she supported measures to try and tackle the virus, but hoped these new restrictions can be eased again in the near future.

“As travel agents, we feel like we’re in a maze, trying to find our way out,” Diane said. “Consumer confidence was booming and we were booking a lot of last-minute holidays.

“We had begun to see a change in customer behaviour, but now there’s another angle to worry about.

“It’s the right thing to do because we need to stop the spread. I don’t disagree with what the Government have done, but it’s difficult to relay the changes to customers.

“Many countries have also changed their rules. People want going on holiday to be stress-free and it’s the worry of things changing that discourages them.”

Diane, who previously managed the former Thomas Cook agency in Sudbury, which shut in 2019, was among several travel industry representatives in Suffolk to lobby for additional financial support from the Government earlier this year.

Despite the challenges, she expressed optimism for the future, with many forward bookings through to 2023, and stated Premier Travel are keen to give back to the community for their support.

The branch is currently collecting Christmas gifts to be donated to the Salvation Army, and it has also entered the Sudbury Christmas Window Display Competition.

“As far as our longevity, I’m still confident,” Diane added. “We’re the only agents left in town now, but we have survived. We have got a lot of forward bookings, even some for 2023.

“The last two years have not been easy, but I still have all my staff and, from the day we opened, we’ve all stuck together.

“Premier Travel have been absolutely amazing. We have a fantastic team and I couldn’t ask for better people to work with.”

To contact Premier Travel in Sudbury, telephone 01787 323230 or click here.