The travel industry is mourning the passing of John Hays, the founder and managing director of Hays Travel, who died today at the age of 71.
A statement from the company said he died at work, doing “the job he loved”.
John, who with his wife and co-owner Irene Hays bought the Thomas Cook retail estate a year ago, was at Sunderland head office of the company when he collapsed.
The couple built Hays Travel into the largest independent travel agent in the UK, providing jobs and careers for thousands of young people over 40 years.
Throughout the past year they did everything possible power to save jobs and protect the travel industry for the impact of Covid-19.
A statement from the company said: “He was held in immense respect by his staff, colleagues, family and friends and was recognised throughout his life for his many achievements.
“He was equally proud of his loyal staff who, under the direction of the board and senior management team, will ensure that the business continues to serve the customers of the largest independent travel agent as he would have wanted.”
Hays Travel took over parts of Thomas Cook last year
Hays Travel specialises