A Durham City travel agency, which this year celebrated 40 years, has been nominated for a prestigious national award.
Gazelle Travel was chosen by a panel of travel experts – including airlines, tour operators and car hire providers – ahead of hundreds of other entries in a bid to find the country’s top travel agencies.
A journalist from the influential Travel Trade Gazette, which ran the competition for the first time last year, will now visit Gazelle Travel to assess the business before the winning agencies are announced at a glittering ceremony at The Vox Centre in Birmingham in March.
Gazelle Travel director Nick Coulthard said: “We are very proud to be recognised by people who work in the industry. We always try to do that bit more for our customers and I think this nomination is a reflection on this.”
Nick and his team have more than 100 years of experience in the holiday business, using their expert knowledge of global destinations to help travellers get the most out of their trips.
This month, for example, general manager Stephen Craig will be returning to Phuket in Thailand where he helped save lives during the catastrophic Boxing Day Tsunami in 2004.
“Understandably Stephen has an emotional attachment with the place but he also knows it like the back of his hand. We think it’s really important that we are able to provide that sort of information for our customers,” said Nick. “Between all of us we have specialist first-hand knowledge from, literally, the four corners of the world.”
Travel Trade Gazette editor Pippa Jacks said: “Now in its second year, our Top 50 Travel Agencies initiative takes us the length and breadth of the country to uncover stories of brilliant agents going the extra mile for their customers, giving great value, and serving their communities.
“We were overwhelmed to have 950 branches and companies put themselves forward to be considered for the list this year, and any that have made the shortlist should be extremely proud.”
The agencies were rated for their business performance, customer service and innovation. The 50 winners will come from categories which include best high street stores in a region and best nationwide agencies. There will also be special awards recognising business innovation and the best retail space.