Fishponds travel agent closes permanently as owner cuts 8,000 jobs worldwide in coronavirus crisis
A FISHPONDS travel agent has closed, after the industry was plunged into crisis by the coronavirus.
The TUI store in Fishponds Road is one of 166 to be permanently closed by the German-owned company – almost a third of its UK retail network – after temporarily shutting at the start of the lockdown in March.
TUI, which is the world's biggest travel company, announced it was shutting stores at the end of July – but at the time it did not reveal which ones were being considered for closure.
By September the Fishponds store had been permanently closed, as had a nearby store in Downend.
TUI declined to say how many staff were employed at each store or confirm the exact dates that they were permanently closed.
However the company has said it intended to create new roles for 70% of the 900 staff from affected stores nationwide in a new "homeworking sales and service team" and relocate some others to vacant roles in its remaining stores.
A spokesperson said: "We can confirm that we’ve made the very difficult decision to permanently close our TUI retail stores in Fishponds and Downend.
"We would like to thank our loyal customers for their support and our amazing retail advisors for all their hard work."
TUI said the move had been made "following a review of UK customer booking behaviours" and in the face of " the greatest crisis the travel industry has ever faced".
It is cutting 8,000 jobs globally to reduce its overheads by 30%.
TUI UK managing director Andrew Flintham said: “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.”