Hays Travel has brought back more than 3,000 workers nationwide as the giant travel firm rebounds from the colossal challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Travel companies have been among those businesses worst affected by the health crisis.
And for Sunderland-based Hays, the timing could hardly have been worse with the company having just expanded hugely to take on collapsed travel legend Thomas Cook.
But a spike in demand for winter holidays has led Hays Travel to invite all of its staff back to work.
Hays had been forced to move hundreds of staff to zero hours contracts when the coronavirus outbreak laid waste to the tourist industry across the world.
Other emergency measures were also put into face as an uncertain future loomed but Hays has now brought back 3,000 people to answer customer inquiries, having seen thousands of inquiries for holidays being made for later in the year.
In a video release, company chairwoman Irene Hays said: “We’ve invited all of our staff to come back to our work and we’re delighted to say we’ve now got about 3,000 people back answering calls and dealing with issues for you.
“We’re also seeing quite a bit of interest for holidays later in the year.”
Husband John, who originally founded the company, said: “People want something to look forward to so demand for winter holidays is really strong for 2020/21.
“What’s going fantastically well is our Hays Travel peace of mind guarantee where you can cancel for whatever reason you like up to six weeks beforehand and get your money back if you don’t want to go.”
Hays put 900 staff in its travel academy, foreign exchange centres and at its Sunderland head office onto zero-hours contracts in March when a slump in the travel market saw it losing hundreds of thousands of pounds a day.
It also asked staff to take unpaid leave and reduce hours to cope with the slump but will hope that the worst of the crisis is now behind it.