Europe’s biggest package holiday provider announced that the “vast majority” of all travel operations would be suspended, including package holidays, hotels and cruises.
The tour operator said in a statement: “In this rapidly changing environment the safety and welfare of our guests and employees worldwide remains of paramount importance and thus TUI Group has decided, in line with government guidelines, to suspend the vast majority of all travel operations until further notice, including package travel, cruises and hotel operations.“
It added: “This temporary suspension is aimed at contributing to global governmental efforts to mitigate the effects of the spread of the Covid-19.
“We are taking substantial cost measures to mitigate the earnings effect. Moreover, we have decided to apply for state aid guarantees to support the business until normal operations are resumed.”
Intrepid Group has also announced the suspension of all operations.
All Intrepid Travel and Peregrine Adventures tours will be cancelled from Monday 16 March until Thursday 30 April 2020.
Customers booked to travel on a tour during this time will receive a credit valued at 110 per cent, which will be valid for two years.
The one exception is Intrepid’s Australia tours, which at present will go ahead as planned.
CEO James Thornton said: “The rapid spread of Coronavirus and subsequent travel shutdowns has created a situation which is unlike anything that Intrepid has seen in our 31 years in business. We have now made the difficult decision to pause our global operations until the end of April.
“The health and wellbeing of our customers, our people, and the local communities that we visit is our priority. As a responsible travel company, we look forward to resuming trips when we can once again operate trips that benefit both our travellers and the people they visit along the way.”
The decision was made after many European countries went into “lock-down” mode over the past few days.
Spain, the most popular destination for British holidaymakers, has declared a State of Emergency as the number of Covid-19 cases continues to rise. The Foreign Office is now advising against all but essential travel to the country.
Jet2 Holidays, the UK’s second biggest tour operator, has cancelled all holidays to Spain and the Canary and Balearic islands “with immediate effect”.
“In response to local measures introduced throughout Spain to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including the closure of bars, restaurants, shops and activities including any water sports, we have taken the decision to cancel all flights to Mainland Spain, the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands with immediate effect,” the company said in a statement.
“We know these local measures will have a significant impact on our customers’ holidays, which is why we have taken this decision.”
It follows multiple cruise lines cancelling all upcoming itineraries, including Cunard, Viking, Saga and Princess Cruises. Richard Branson has also postponed the maiden voyage of his new cruise line, Virgin Voyages.
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