Tui to close 166 high street stores after 'changes in customer behaviour'

Burnham-On-Sea's TUI travel agent

The travel firm says the move they'd planned further in the future has been accelerated due to the impact of Covid-19.

The closures affect around 900 jobs, although some 630 of these will hopefully be kept on to work from home, transferred to other outlets, or move to admin roles for the online aspects of the business, as the chain is not giving up business altogether.

The firm already announced plans to cut 8,000 jobs worldwide due to the coronavirus, which it described as "the greatest crisis" the travel industry has ever faced.

The affected stores represent around 45pc of those in Ireland and the United Kingdom with around 350 retail stores to remain.

"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", said Andrew Flintham, managing director of Tui UK and Ireland.

"It is therefore imperative that we make these hard cost decisions and do our best to look after our colleagues during such unprecedented uncertainty".

According to travel industry experts, today's news that TUI is closing 166 travel agencies in United Kingdom and Ireland, is not surprising after the European travel giant already declared initiatives to digitize operations in its half year results earlier this year.

TUI has not yet confirmed which store locations have been slated to be closed.

COVID-19 has accelerated the change in purchasing habits, according to Flintham.

The travel industry has been badly hit by Government restrictions in the United Kingdom and overseas, and the consequent collapse in demand during the pandemic.

Only yesterday, TUI cancelled all of its holidays to the Balearic and Canary Islands until August 4 following renewed quarantine measures on travellers arriving from Spain by the United Kingdom government.

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