TUI has announced it will close 166 stores across the UK and Ireland.
In what will be seen as a major blow to the tourism industry, the travel giant said it had “accelerated” the closures as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
However, the decision was mainly drive by changes in customer habits, the company added.
TUI UK managing director, Andrew Flintham, said: “We want to be in the best position to provide excellent customer service, whether it’s in a high street store, over the telephone or online, and will continue to put the customer at the heart of what we do.
“It is therefore imperative that we make these difficult cost decisions, look after our colleagues during such unprecedented uncertainty and also offer a modern customer service.
“Customer behaviours have already changed in recent years, with 70 per cent of all TUI UK bookings taking place online.”
Commenting on the news, Julia Lo Bue-Said, chief executive of Advantage Travel Partnership, said more shops could be expected to follow.
“This is a sad day for the travel industry and for the British high street with the closure of so many TUI stores,” she added.
“While such draconian quarantine measures are still in place, we will be nowhere nearer to getting the industry back on its feet.
“Without specific sector support and consultation from government, many businesses will not see it through the next few months.”