TUI to close 48 travel agencies due to ‘unprecedented pressure’ – which stores will shut?

Holidays: Travel expert says Brits can still book summer breaks

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TUI is shutting 48 of its retail stores, the travel brand has revealed. It comes after the company cancelled all holidays until May 17 following the Government’s unveiling of the roadmap out of lockdown. TUI said “unprecedented pressure” led to the move to shut some of its high street travel agencies.

The closures will affect hundreds of TUI staff.

“The travel industry and the British high street are both facing unprecedented pressure,” said TUI in a statement.

“We can therefore confirm that we are proposing to close 48 retail stores.

“All colleagues at risk of redundancy will be offered roles in other stores where there are vacancies, or in the new homeworking retail and contact centre team.”

TUI explained “difficult cost decisions” were behind the store closures.

“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 the travel company.

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

TUI added that the way people buy holidays has changed.

Many chose to book online or phone travel agents rather than visit physical stores.

“We believe the COVID-19 has only strengthened a change in purchasing habits, with people looking to buy online or wishing to speak with travel experts from the comfort of their own home,” explained TUI.

“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.”

TUI is not yet unveiling which stores will close.

However, The Independent reported that most of the shops shutting will be TUI travel agencies in smaller towns, as well as some in bigger towns and cities where the company has more than one branch.

It currently illegal to travel abroad on holiday.

On Monday 29, to coincide with the stay at home Covid measure lifting, anyone caught flouting the law and travelling abroad without “reasonable excuse” risks being fined £5,000.

This is set to remain in force until the end of June but April 12 marks the date the Government will announce how the country will be moving forwards when it comes to international travel.

As it stands, May 17 has been earmarked as the date foreign travel can resume, according to the Government’s roadmap

In response to the new measures, TUI said yesterday: “We remain committed to working closely with the Government on the Global Travel Taskforce and look forward to understanding more about when international travel can take place when it reports on April 12.

“We believe holidays this summer will be possible, taking into account our outstanding vaccination programme and the use of testing where required.

“We recognise that entry requirements will vary from country to country and we will do everything we can to communicate requirements to our customers.

“Currently all TUI holidays have been cancelled before May 17 and all customers with a booking before the end of June are able to move it to another time for free as we recognise the uncertainty around travel at this time.”

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