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Travel agent a familiar face in Liverpool CBD

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Here to help: Peter Georges in his Mega Travel office in Memorial Avenue, Liverpool.

The big Mega Travel sign is part of the furniture, so to speak, along busy Memorial Avenue on the southern end of the Liverpool CBD.

But just as familiar around the Liverpool business district is the face of the man who runs the Mega Travel office, Peter Georges.

But that’s no surprise when you consider Peter has been running his business in Liverpool for almost 20 years.

The 52 year old Chipping Norton resident worked at Qantas for 11 years before deciding he wanted to run his own business, and naturally he decided to be a travel agent.

Five years earlier he had moved the family to Chipping Norton from Riverwood.

“The first two years I ran the business from home,’’ says Peter.

“I started with zero, I didn’t have one customer but I had a lot of help from my former work colleagues and slowly built up a clientele.

“After two years we opened an office in Northumberland Street, on the corner of Memorial Avenue, opposite the fruit shop,’’ he says.

After nine years at that location, Peter moved the business to the current address in Memorial Avenue.

I ask him how he’s coping with the massive changes in his industry and in particular with some people opting to book their own flights online instead of going to a travel agent.

“Say you book accommodation in Paris from an overseas company online, you’re not covered by insurance.

“Or if you book an international airline, say Etihad, Sydney to Athens, and you do it online and the booking site is an overseas one, you are not covered.’’

But isn’t cheaper for travellers to book online?

“You’re not saving anything on line when you look at the whole package,’’ he says.

“We love it when people come to us and say we got a quote on the internet.

“Matching apples with apples I make more money.’’

Of course travel agents are also mostly working in the digital world and, says Peter, you don’t even have to go to their offices anymore.

“Now my customers can just email me their details and I can book their tickets,’’ he says.

“At the end of the day you get service, you have someone you can call if you have a problem if you are stranded somewhere overseas, far from home.

“You ring me up and say, Peter, I need help to get back. If you booked on the internet you have to go back there and try to change things online yourself.’’

But enough of disruptive technology; I ask Peter what changes he has seen in Liverpool in the 20 years he’s been in business here.

“Liverpool has changed a lot since I opened my business. I think it has changed for the better.

“I think Ned Mannoun has done a lot of good things since he got elected mayor.

“I have also noticed that drug dealing in the CBD, which used to be rife, has disappeared, which is a good thing.

“Liverpool has improved overall, it’s a lot nicer than it used to be.

“I notice that there are lots of restaurants, especially down this southern end, so it’s not just all happening at the Westfield end as it was 10 years ago.

“In the next 5 to 10 years Liverpool will become unrecognizable.’’

 

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