Thursday, 30 July 2020

TUI closing 166 UK and Ireland stores.

The European holiday firm TUI has confirmed it will close 166 of its 600+ high street retail travel agencies in the UK and Ireland after it was revealed that during recent times as much as 70% of new bookings were done online.

The Tui Group announced in May it was looking at ways to cut costs throughout its European operations by 30% and that it expected around 8000 jobs to either be lost or otherwise impacted. The decision to close so many UK and Ireland shops is part of that budgeting programme. 

The holiday firm said it expected 70% of the 900 roles affected would be moved to other stores or departments, to try and limit the number of enforced redundancies.

The UK and Ireland Managing Director of TUI,  Andrew Flintham said: "We want to be in the best position to provide excellent customer service, whether it’s in a high street store, over the telephone or online, and will continue to put the customer at the heart of what we do. It is therefore imperative that we make these difficult cost decisions, look after our colleagues during such unprecedented uncertainty and also offer a modern customer service.

"Customer behaviours have already changed in recent years, with 70% of all Tui UK bookings taking place online. We believe Covid-19 has only accelerated this change in purchasing habits, with people looking to buy online or wishing to speak with travel experts from the comfort of their own home. We have world class travel advisors at Tui, so we hope many of them will become homeworkers and continue to offer the personalised service we know our customers value."

The TSSA union called on TUI to work with them in order to campaign for more Government support; "We need a bespoke package of measures to save our travel industry. I call on Tui and other employers to engage with our union so we can jointly lobby government for this to happen." General secretary Manuel Cortes said.

The news has been greeted with dismay by many outside the industry, as the group has taken vast amounts of money from the UK and German governments during the COVID crisis either in the form or loans or furlough payments.

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