Gillian Bowler launches new travel website

28 May 2010

The chairman of Irish Life & Permanent (IL&P) Gillian Bowler has launched a new travel company aimed at the Irish market –

The Budget Travel founder’s new venture, which goes live later today, will allow people to package their own holidays. Users can either buy all or parts of their package holiday such as flights, hotels and transport from the website, which will offer scheduled as opposed to charter flights.

The company will cater for a range of sun destinations including Spain, France, Portugal, Madeira and the Canaries. It is aiming to offer its services to as many as 10,000 holidaymakers this year. claims to offer holidays at prices that are 33pc lower than those for the same holidays offered by other leading travel companies in Ireland at present.

While the company is an online one, it said staff will be on hand at its office in Dublin to deal with customer enquiries seven days a week. It also said it will have local representatives at each of its selected locations so holidaymakers have someone to go to in case of problems or emergencies. is fully bonded and is offering an ash cloud guarantee to cover the risk of holidays being cancelled or delayed as a result of volcanic ash.

A next-gen travel business
Speaking today, Gillian Bowler said that the new company was designed as a “next-generation” travel business: “The internet and the rise of self-packaged holidays has altered the face of the travel business forever. Traditional travel companies are still in denial but we want to set up a business which embraces the internet and which makes it work for us and our customers.”

Bowler also said that the new company would bring much-needed competition to the holiday market in Ireland; “Between them TUI and Thomas Cook now control about 85pc of the package holiday market in Ireland [300,000 of 350,000 charter flights expected this year].  The market is very uncompetitive and consumers are paying over the odds as a result.  We want to challenge that cosy market and bring back real value and choice to Irish consumers.”

She emphasised that the company would be dealing directly with hotel and apartment operators abroad to book accommodation: “We’ll only work with people whom we know and can recommend.  Our people will have direct knowledge of the resorts we’re dealing with and the accommodation we’re using.  It’ll be a service based on our experience and the experience of Irish holidaymakers who’ve spent time in these locations.”

The company intends to market inbound holiday packages in Ireland to international visitors from spring 2011. will be headed by a former marketing boss of Budget Travel Paul Hackett.

Other key figures involved in the venture include Bowler’s husband and former Budget Travel director Harry Sydner, along with Eugene Corcoran, the former MD of Budget Travel.

Photo – Jason Clarke Photography

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