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Hays Travel to Close 89 Shops Across UK; Northern Ireland Next?

Hays Travel to Close 89 Shops Across UK; Northern Ireland Next?

Hays Travel has announced that it is closing 89 shops across the UK as lockdown restrictions continue to take its toll on the travel industry.

The UK’s largest travel agency has said that it is looking for alternative arrangements for the 388 staff at risk from the closures. All but one of the 89 stores were acquired in October 2019 following the collapse of Thomas Cook.

In a statement on Monday, Hays said the national lockdown and travel ban, which forced major holiday operators to suspend flights and holidays, meant the company had to act fast.

“Our first priority is to continue to look after our customers and we offer the highest standards of customer service through our retail, phone and online divisions,” said chief operating officer Jonathan Woodall. “We are continuing with our robust two-year business plan and continue to be ready for the bounce back when it comes.”

Dame Irene Hays, owner and chair of Hays Travel, added:  “It was always our intention to review the performance of our shops at the end of the licence period – we had hoped the business would bounce back in January and it has not.

“We have done everything we could to safeguard jobs and the business thus far, and we have come up with a range of options for those at risk of redundancy to help as many colleagues as we can.”

Hayes has around 20 shops in Northern Ireland, but so far none of them are included in the scheduled list of closures.

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Fionn Davenport is the editor-in-chief of the ITTN group, including ITTN and ITTN Ireland. He's one of Ireland's best-known travel journalists and writers, with nearly 30 years' experience writing guidebooks for Lonely Planet and others.

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