Britain’s biggest holiday company is to close one-third of its high-street travel agencies.
The company said it will close 166 of its 516 high-street stores in the UK and Ireland “as it adapts to changes in customer behaviour”.
The move by Tui will cost 900 jobs, but many may be saved by redeployment. A new homeworking sales and service team will be created.
Andrew Flintham, the managing director of Tui UK and Ireland, 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.
“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 per cent 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 advisers at Tui, so we hope many of them will become homeworkers and continue to offer the personalised service we know our customers value.”
The firm is seeking to reassure prospective customers by offering cover for passengers against coronavirus-related problems.