Former chef leads ‘gorgeous’ new Hays Travel branch

A former chef who runs Hays Travel’s new branch in Sutton recently celebrated the store’s official opening, and looks forward to seeing the shop in an upcoming TV advert.

Michael Fox, who spent the first 13 years of his career as a professional chef, welcomed the Mayor of the London Borough of Sutton, Colin Stears, for the opening event at the Sutton High Street premises.

Fox (pictured) said: “It was brilliant to welcome the mayor and other guests to our official opening. Everyone enjoyed cake and entered our prize draw to win a £200 Hays Travel voucher or a Royal Caribbean goodie bag.”

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He added: “The mayor accepted the difficult task of choosing a winner from the brilliantly creative drawings submitted by children from Barrow Hedges Primary School – rather him than me!”

Hays Travel retail director Jane Schumm said the agency had been “delighted” with how the store had been performing.

“We were looking for the right opportunity in the area and jumped at this location when it came up,” she added.

“It’s a gorgeous branch and Michael and the team are excellent – between them they have so much travel knowledge and experience. Congratulations to the team on their official launch.”

The mayor unveiled a commemorative plaque during the opening event, then went on to judge the pupils’ drawings. They were invited to create their own design for an MSC cruise ship, with the chance to win a Lego model of a member of the line’s fleet.

Fox said the staff have extensive travel knowledge, adding that two of the agents previously worked at the old Thomas Cook branch in the town.

Sutton residents will soon recognise the branch on TV for the upcoming Hays Travel advert.

“A full crew and cast of 25 descended on us in April to film the advert,” said Fox. “It was a brilliant experience and we all loved being involved – we can’t wait to see the results.”

Fox’s career as a chef took him to hotels and large chalets in Austria, before he joined the travel industry in the early 2000s by becoming a holiday rep with Tui.

He went on to spend several years with Kuoni, gaining significant knowledge of the Maldives, Mexico and Switzerland. In total he has lived in 13 countries.

He said: “After being a chef I drifted into travel and loved it – what other sector would give me the opportunity to live in all the countries I have?

“I’ve met so many people who pop up in new roles. It’s great to meet up with former colleagues and learn what they are up to now – travel is very social.”

Fox joined Hays Travel in January.

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