Trade ambassador Maurice Shiels is set to leave Topflight, and has extended his thanks to the travel trade in Northern Ireland.
Maurice said: “Well, these last 4 months have been extremely tough on the travel industry. And it is not looking like it will get any easier in the short term. I know that each of our agent, airline, in-resort partners, cruise and trade media partners has their own difficulties and pressures.
“But collectively I think we have all been left exhausted on how our industry has suffered due to Covid-19.
“Although very serious to our business, the health and wellbeing for each one of us, our friends and family and colleagues in the Travel Industry far outweighs this.
“I have missed the interaction and social catch-ups with the trade over these last few months, no events, no educationals or workshops. For such a social industry the last few months have been a challenge. With homeworking I have missed the buzz of the phones ringing in the office, the chatter of the sales team busy booking your customers holidays, dealing with problems needing support and help and of course the general craic and good humour in the office!
“Working from home has now become the new norm for most of us! Spending time with family and for me personally, being able to sit with my wife and daughters (and dog!) for breakfast in the mornings, be around for lunch and also for dinner has been the highlight of this new norm! I have not missed the train journey into work – hanging around in the winter weather for delayed trains! It has been a mix of Zoom and Google Hangout meetings with the sales team and management team instead of meetings in the office. I think the mix between home working and office working will become more important for people in the months ahead.
“I arrived into Topflight over 15 years ago from working as a travel agent on the front counter. Tour Operating was nothing new for me, as I had started my travel trade days with Budget Travel (as most have!). My first Topflight role was within the Tailormade Department, helping to stabilise it first and then see the department grow and thrive – a sign of how the travel industry was changing. I was then appointed Tailormade Supervisor and then Tailormade Department Manager. As Topflight grew to encompass a worldwide and cruise departments so did the opportunities and I was very grateful to be given the opportunity to first become Sales Manager and shortly later, become Sales Director for Topflight Travel Group.
“During my journey I have worked with lots of excellent people within the company.
“And equally met some enthusiastic, professional and highly-skilled people within the Travel Industry. Many of whom I now regard as my great friends.
“Unfortunately, as a consequence of the effects on the business of Covid-19, like many companies, has left the company with very serious and hard decisions to make in order to stabilise and protect as many jobs as possible. As a result, my own position with Topflight has been made redundant. I want to thank everyone in the Travel Trade who have always supported Topflight and hope they will continue to do so. It’s a great company and I have been very proud to have been a member of the team and contribute to the company’s growth for over 15 years.
“It will become more important than ever that the travel trade stick together and help support each and every industry, where possible, during these difficult times.”
Maurice continued: “I also want to thank the staff in Topflight, both past and present, who have helped me in my journey. It has been a wonderful experience with many very enjoyable times. This company has embedded a love of ski and a passion for Italy in me for which I will always be very grateful. And finally to Tony for giving me the initial opportunity to work with Topflight and subsequently Anthony for recognising my skills by promoting me to Sales Director with Topflight Travel Group back in 2016.
“I wish you all good health and hopefully our paths will cross again somewhere in the future.”
The team at Northern Ireland Travel News would like to wish Maurice all the best for the future. We will miss you, and we hope to see you again very soon!