Hotelplan cuts jobs amid coronavirus

The Swiss government has handed Switzerland Tourism CHF40 million ($41 million) to help boost the tourism industry but many are still struggling under the weight of travel restrictions. Keystone / Martin Ruetschi

Swiss tour operator Hotelplan has announced it is cutting around 430 jobs, including 170 in Switzerland as the coronavirus crisis takes a toll on the travel industry.

This content was published on June 25, 2020 - 11:57
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“The effects of the corona pandemic have shaken and practically paralysed the entire travel industry around the world,” Hotelplan announced on Thursday. The company is part of the Migros Group and currently employs some 2,277 people around the world.

With no rapid recovery in sight, the company said that it has had to take “painful and unavoidable” measures. In addition to job cuts, the company is scaling back its branch network. Business units in Switzerland, Germany and Great Britain are all expected to be affected. In Switzerland, 12 of its 98 travel offices will be closed.

“The developments in the travel industry are a nightmare for all of us. It hurts that we can no longer offer employees a perspective,” said Hotelplan Group CEO Thomas Stirnimann. The company says the measures aim to help secure as many jobs as possible in the long term, and to maintain competitiveness.

A social plan has been put in place for affected employees in Switzerland. The company is also in consultations with employee associations in other countries.

Swissport

Several media outlets have also reported that airport ground services and baggage handler Swissport is set to cut more than half of its United Kingdom workforce as airlines deal with the effects of the coronavirus crisis.

The firm, which is owned by the Chinese conglomerate HNA Group, announced that it plans to cut some 4,500 jobs in the UK. Swissport employs around 64,000 people in 300 airports in 47 countries. This includes ground service personal baggage handlers and check-in staff.

Chief executive Jason Holt said that the business has weathered other crises but has “never experienced anything like Covid-19 in our lifetimes.”

“We are now facing a long period of uncertainty and reduced flight numbers, along with significant changes taking place to the way people travel and the way goods move around the world.”

While some airlines are expanding travel routes as lockdowns are lifted, Swissport has said its revenue is forecast to be almost 50% lower than last year due to the crisis.

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