Luxury tour operator Journeys of Distinction is set to close and will be integrated into the main Kuoni brand from next year.
The Cheshire-based firm, which specialises in luxury private tours and escorted group touring holidays, sent a letter to contacts on September 8 confirming the closure, along with a Kuoni brochure.
Four staff are being made redundant as a result of the move, including managing director Karen Gee, and two have now been employed by sister brand Carrier.
Gee is staying on to oversee current bookings until November while the rest of the staff have already left the business.
Journeys of Distinction, known as Journeys, is listed on the Kuoni website as “operating independently within the Kuoni UK Group”. It was announced in June that Kuoni Group’s tour operating businesses had been sold to the owner of German operator DER Touristik.
While the Journeys brand will disappear, some of the tours have been integrated into Kuoni's programme of tours for 2016, Kuoni Journeys.
Gee said there was a "degree of overlap" between the two brands but Journeys was well-known for its "limited edition tours" which offered an extra "wow factor". It began selling through the trade after it was bought by Kuoni in 2006.
Gee, wrote in the letter: “I am writing to let you know that Journeys of Distinction is closing.
“You’ll be pleased to know that many of our incredible tours can now be booked directly through Kuoni.”
The letter set out guidance for those who have already booked a Journeys tour. All remaining departures for 2015 will continue to be managed by the brand and there will be no changes to the holidays booked, however all calls to the firm’s office are now being dealt with by Kuoni.
All current bookings for 2016 will be managed by Kuoni, which will contact customers “shortly” regarding the booking. Any new bookings for 2016 can also be dealt with through Kuoni.
The letter ended: “On behalf of the entire Journeys of Distinction team I would like to express our heartfelt thanks to you for your business over the years and to wish you many happy travels in the years to come.”
Gee has not yet decided on her next career move. "For the moment my focus is on making sure tours for our customers this year are perfect," she said. "Working for Journeys has been an amazing experience."
A Kuoni spokesman said: “Kuoni Journeys, our escorted touring brochure, already included a number of Journeys of Distinction tours in the programme. All 2016 bookings are being handed over to us and the Kuoni team is actively looking to secure alternative places for customers within our existing tours."
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