Kuoni has begun a consultation process with staff as it looks to “reshape” the business through a full strategic business review following the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chief executive Derek Jones has written to staff to inform them that some roles will be made redundant at the travel agency and tour operator, which employs nearly 500 people in the UK and overseas.

The number of potential compulsory redundancies at Kuoni have not been confirmed and all areas of the business are under review.

Jones praised staff for their support and commitment over the past three months, a time which he said has “tested the company to the limit”.

He said the company has been faced with the “herculean task” of repatriating customers and amending and refunding thousands of forward bookings at the same time as staff have been dealing with personal challenges the pandemic has presented.

Jones said: “In the short term we will be a smaller business but by taking these actions now we can see our way through it and emerge stronger in the future.

“We have one of the most envied brands in the travel industry and we must now look at a roadmap to recovery so we can thrive in the years to come. As we move into the next phase of the crisis, beyond the support of the job retention scheme, we will need to adjust our plans in line with reduced demand which means we have to take some very difficult decisions.

“We’ve done everything we can to try and retain jobs and manage our way through this, but we are now faced with a set of circumstances where we have exhausted all other options.

“Throughout the crisis we have strived to do the right thing for our customers, giving refunds where no other option has been possible.  We’ve been open and honest with our team from the outset about the severity of the situation and, without exception, everyone has been brilliant and I could not be prouder of them.

“We’ve always said our people are the difference. The talent we have at Kuoni is second to none and it’s my hope that we can support everyone personally and professionally at what is undoubtedly the most challenging time our industry has ever faced.”

In March, Kuoni made 70 staff redundant as the pandemic led to travel restrictions around the world and the UK was placed into lockdown, but it reversed the decision once the chancellor’s furlough scheme was announced – remploying those staff that were made redundant.

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