A TRAVEL agency is now offering the latest Islamic-style clothes as holiday bookings take a tumble.

With the travel market in disarray, one innovative travel agency has found a new way to attract customers to the shop.

Al Habeeb Lifestyle and Travel, based on Accrington Road in Blackburn, now sells clothes and gifts in store - a decision manager Zaheer Abbas said was necessary following the lockdown.

He said: “Many travel agencies have had to re-evaluate what they are doing.

“In our case the lockdown has forced us to completely cancel a range of tours we had booked.”

In a typical year the company would host tours to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj pilgrimage and the lesser pilgrimage, the Umrah both of which were cancelled this year. In addition to this they had a growing range of tours to other parts of the world.

“We would take three to four groups each year to Saudi Arabia and also tours to Turkey, Palestine and Iraq. We also had made plans for tours to Uzbekistan, Egypt and Morocco. These were extremely popular and we were growing our business especially with families.

“Our tours were taking place every six to eight weeks.

“All of these have been cancelled this summer so for a small business like ours it has been an extremely testing time. Any small support grants we get go to paying staff and bookings," he said.

The shop was based on Whalley New Road and moved to new premises earlier this year.

Mr Abbas said: “This is still a new store as such as we closed for the lockdown almost as soon as we moved here.

“The store now has a wide variety of outfits including the much sought after Saeed Ajmal brand of Mens Salwar Kameez, Jubbahs (Arab style clothing) and Abayas. There are a range of perfumes and small gifts in the shop too.

“The clothes we have are proving to be popular and hopefully we will be getting in some new brands in soon.

“We are still continuing with the travel agency side and booking tickets as well as worldwide money transfer. We are hoping for things to get better by the end of the year,” Mr Abbas said.