Thomas Cook staff will have their jobs saved after a travel agent bought its stores.

Hays Travel plans to re-open the Watford and Rickmansworth branches after they closed with all its original Thomas Cook employees as soon as possible.

Both stores had been shut after Thomas Cook failed to find £200 million to avoid entering administration.

Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor said it was “fantastic” that local jobs would be saved.

He continued: “I can only imagine the relief this has given to former Thomas Cook employees in Watford.

“I look forward to welcoming Hays Travel to our High Street and I wish them all the best in the future. It is so important that we can continue to have a vibrant and busy town centre.”

Since Hays Travel bought al 555 Thomas Cook stores nationally on October 9, 168 stores have opened and almost 2,000 have been offered jobs.

This includes 20 new high street shops across the London area, some of which have opened their doors already.

Irene Hays, chair of the Hayes Travel group, said: “We are heartened by the support we have had from people who really want to support their local shop and help us keep the travel industry going in their area.”

John Hayes, managing director of Hayes Travel, added: “We have a fantastic team who have helped us build Hays Travel over almost 40 years and now we have extended the family with some very skilled former Thomas Cook colleagues who are just waiting to help people find their dream holiday at the best value we can find.”