The news that Thomson, one of the most recognisable tour operators on the high street, is to cut 2,600 jobs in the UK is a clear sign of the changing trends within the travel industry.

Full details of where the job cuts will come have yet to be revealed, however, the reasons behind the decision are more apparent (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6182443.stm).

The changing way in which the British public book their holidays and take trips, together with the rise of internet-based operators and the on-line presence of “no frills” companies has contributed to the decision of TUI, the German owners of Thomson, to launch a wide-ranging restructuring of its business.

As more of us book on-line from home and work and no longer restrict ourselves to the traditional summer fortnight in the sun – it is becoming the norm for us to take 2, 3 or more trips throughout the year, from beach-based holidays to more adventurous excursions and long weekend breaks – companies like Thomson are having to adapt to an ever-changing market.

The impact of such trends on more conventional high street operators has been significant and many believe the Thomsons job cuts will be quickly followed by similar decisions by other familiar names.

TUI employs about 8,000 staff in the UK, and Thomson has about 730 travel shops nationwide. It plans to cut a total of 3,600 jobs Europe-wide, though the majority of redundancies would come in the UK as TUI maintained that was where the market had changed the most.

The decisioin will also have an impact on the Coventry-based Thomsonfly budget airline operation. TUI is to merge its airlines into a single brand called TUIfly.com.

The job loss announcement was followed by news of a new TUI internet flight portal, an expansion of its hotel business, as the company looks to build its web-based operation.

As more of us choose the DIY approach to booking our trips away, expect more companies to radically overhaul the way in which they do business as they seek to catch up with the established, internet-based operators.

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