Ahead of Manchester Pride this weekend, love is definitely in the air! And, to celebrate Thomas Cook Airlines being the headline sponsor of Manchester Pride’s Big Weekend for the fourth year in a row, I’ve landed a very special interview.
Here’s our very own Thomas Cook love story:
How did you both meet?
Well, we actually met online (cringe). We both had mutual friends and just got chatting. On our first date, we planned to walk around Newstead Abbey. I picked Gary up in a car I’d recently bought, and nearly got us squashed in the entrance gates to the Abbey. I didn’t realise they were closing and I was more concerned about driving over the speed bump slowly as I didn’t want to damage my new car. It was very close and embarrassing!
What do you both do at Thomas Cook?
I (Ryan) work in the Product & Yield department as an Assistant Product Manager for our five mainland Spain destinations. I make sure we have the right products on sale at the right time, create and maintain product content as well as forecast for future seasons. I’ve worked for Thomas Cook for nine years, and first started my career as an Apprentice in Nottingham. I’d always wanted to work in travel, ever since I was at school. Gary works in the Learning & Development team. He delivers the training to our new joiners, and also the take-off programmes for our new managers. Gary also worked in our retail branches and when he went on a management induction course, that’s when he realised he wanted to work within that team.
Where have you been on holiday?
Our first holiday together was at the SENTIDO Gran Canaria Princess in Playa del Ingles. We absolutely loved this hotel and have recommended it to lots of friends on our return. We’ve also been to Lanzarote, Majorca, Zante (twice) and Poland.
What destinations have you found most LGBTQ friendly?
Certainly Gran Canaria, we stayed in the resort of Playa del Ingles, which is home to the Yumbo Centre; a renowned commercial centre with a big gay scene. We enjoyed it here and felt very safe! If you’re travelling to Gran Canaria, you HAVE to visit Sparkles Show Bar. You’re guaranteed to have the best night out here.
Zante is somewhere else we’ve really enjoyed visiting. We’ve stayed in the resort of Tsilivi twice now. The first time at the smartline Princess Hotel and this year we stayed somewhere new. The locals are so friendly and very accepting. We’ve made lots of friends and are planning to return soon.
Are there any hotels you’d recommend staying in?
Definitely the Contessina Suites & Spa in Tsilivi in Zante. It has a real boutique style, and is a modern and stylish hotel. There were lots of LGBTQ couples staying here including a chef, rally driver and cabin crew; it really was a great mix of people! We all got on so well and even did a few trips together, including a boat excursion.
Have you attended any pride events this year?
No neither of us have this year! But, we’d absolutely love to go to Manchester Pride and Barcelona would be the Pride I’d choose to visit. I’ve been to Barcelona twice with work and it’s become my favourite city because of the breathtaking architecture and the Catalan culture.
Holidays are about making moments that count and I’d love to hear about how you’ve done just that. Comment below and tell me about how you fell in love with your partner.