Face to Face: Gary Anslow, Cosmos
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Ahead of Thirsty Thursday Cardiff, we speak to Gary Anslow, sales director at Cosmos & Monarch Travel Group on new departures and product.
Is this the first time Cosmos has operated holidays from Cardiff? What were the reasons behind the decision to launch/come back?
Apart from offering a small allocation of seats on a flight-only basis mostly to Mediterranean summer destinations from Cardiff, this is the first time a full holiday programme has been operated by Cosmos and certainly to a long haul destination like Florida.
Further to the success of our Florida programme from Gatwick, Manchester, Glasgow and recent support of our US trade partners, we wanted to cover a larger catchment area across the UK and provide regional flying from Cardiff to offer our customers the convenience of flying from their local airport.
What has interest been like for the Cardiff-Orlando flights since you announced the schedule?
Since the launch of the programme, feedback has been good from both travel agents and consumers as Florida continues to be one of the most popular long haul destinations. In the past, demand for Florida holidays in the Wales area has been huge so we are pleased with the pick-up so far.
New attractions and theme park rides opening all the time means that the destination hasn’t lost its appeal for the UK family market. By offering the convenience and flexibility of flying from their local airport, we are hoping this will increase the appeal of a Florida holiday to those living in the area. Our customers can also take advantage of a range of extra value offers such as room upgrades, free nights and even discounts on attraction tickets.
How else has Cosmos changed its product for the USA for 2012/13?
This year has also seen the Cosmos Florida programme increase capacity significantly out of Gatwick and Glasgow for the peak summer holiday period. Cosmos now offers a total of three flights a week from Gatwick and two a week from Glasgow during school summer holidays. We have also added Newcastle departures to the programme which brings the total number of UK airports to five.
The 2013 programme went on sale at the end of April offering direct flights to Orlando from our five featured UK airports. A series of early booking offers including a low deposit of £75 per person, free car hire upgrade, free travel insurance for children and free airport lounge passes on bookings made before 31 July ’12 (conditions and dates apply).
From the escorted touring side of the business, Cosmos Tours & Cruises is set to launch its 2013 programme appropriately on 4 July 2012 with its latest range of USA tours, cruises and twin-centre holidays. Exciting new products include a tour marking the 50th anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King Jr; a tour of the Lone Star State, Texas as well as a 16-day tour of the National Parks & Canyon and the ‘Wild West’.
Outside of the US, what is new for Cosmos that travel agents should be aware of?
Early summer has been a very busy time for Cosmos Holidays. As well as the new Florida programme, Cosmos Holidays has launched its new winter holidays (2012/13) with daily flying to a whole range of Spanish destinations and a wide choice of flights to other winter sun resorts.
A summer preview brochure is also on sale with a new European city break programme featured for the first time.
Most recently, we launched a year-round Madeira program featuring Monarch’s new scheduled service to the island with departures from both London Gatwick and Birmingham throughout the winter and summer seasons.
Flight-only options through flight-only brand Avro Flights are on sale now for both winter 2012/13 and summer 2013.