Herts business COVID recovery funding secured for Wheathampstead holiday company

2by2 Holidays in Wheathampstead has been awarded funding to launch Auriel Holidays to tailor holiday

2by2 Holidays in Wheathampstead has been awarded funding to launch Auriel Holidays to tailor holidays to fit with ongoing travel restrictions Picture: 2by2 - Credit: Archant

A Wheathampstead holiday company is one of four Herts businesses to secure emergency funding to help bounce back from the impact of COVID-19.

Four tourism and hospitality businesses have secured the funding from the Crowdfund Hertfordshire: Small Business Innovation Fund, which is aimed at providing support for businesses most impacted by the coronavirus lockdown.

2by2 Holidays has been creating tailor-made wildlife and cultural holidays to Africa, Latin America and India for nearly 20 years.

The firm plans to launch Auriel Holidays – based in Place Farm – with its secured match funding, which will be a new agency tailoring holidays to fit with ongoing travel restrictions.

With ongoing travel restrictions in place, new travel agency Auriel Holidays has been launched to deliver a range of holidays in the UK and Europe. Auriel Holidays will initially focus on road trips and rail journeys, as well as a range of small group wildlife, walk and rail tours to Scotland, Ireland, England and Wales.

The team is also planning to offer island hopping in Scotland, Ireland, the Isles of Scilly and the Channel Islands.

Claire Farley from 2by2 Holidays told the Herts Ad: “The travel industry has been particularly hard hit by this pandemic, especially as none of us know when it will be safe to travel internationally again.

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“We have had no income for five months – so I was faced with the stark choice of either laying off all my staff and mothballing the business until such time as travel resumes, or find a way of diversifying to keep everyone employed.

“I chose the latter route, assisted by this very creative Crowdfunding Scheme sponsored by Visit Herts & Herts LEP, for which I owe them a huge vote of thanks.

“We still have a mountain to climb, but their grant has given us the time to create Auriel Holidays – a new bespoke travel agency focusing on holidays closer to home, both in the UK and Europe.

“I am pleased to advise that we are already trading and have had several very large bookings in the past few weeks, both for later this year and next year. Watch this space!”

Participating businesses are required to raise money for their project through pledges. Once a business secures their target through the Crowdfunder campaign, successful applicants are able to unlock match-funding from the scheme.