THOMAS Cook’s collapse shocked the travel industry and left many pointing fingers at the internet.

But for one British former travel agent on the Costa Blanca, the collapse created the perfect conditions to launch her online travel business after nine years of preparation.

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PERFECT CONDITIONS: Paula Williams said the travel industry is inevitably moving towards online and direct bookings

Paula Williams’ new Go Travel Direct online directory cuts out any commissions, hidden fees and middle-men by allowing guests to book travel plans directly with service providers – and the website has exploded with interest.

“Everyone wants to book direct now,” Williams, who lives in Javea with her husband and two sons, told the Olive Press.

“I left the travel industry nine years and I saw this was exactly where it would go.

“I bought all the domain names, had everything planned, and finally this year built the website and put it out there.”

Williams said she left the travel industry because it had become ‘cut-throat’ with both service providers and customers paying ‘hefty commissions’ to agencies.

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BOOMING: Paula Williams’ Go Travel Direct has welcomed hundreds of customers in the first few weeks of operation from the UK to as far as Fiji

Even Air Bnb has been ‘slated’ recently for its commission structure and non-existent villa advertisements.

Which is why Go Travel Direct has a completely different business plan: villa owners, campsites, transport companies, attractions and other service providers advertise themselves in an online directory for free.

Businesses can then upgrade to gain more exposure through images and featured posts – and the recipe has worked, with Williams saying more than 500 clients have signed up in the few months Go Travel Direct has been operational.

“The collapse of Thomas Cook worked in my favour,” Williams said.

She added she is using the benefits of the internet to work in the customers’ and the travel business’ interests, to rebuild a transparent and thriving industry.

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