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Major travel agency JTB Corp. is planning to close around 20% of its outlets in Japan, or around 100 offices, over the next five years, sources said Monday.

With demand for travel stagnant due to the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, JTB hopes to reduce costs by streamlining its outlets, as well as by promoting digitalization, including moves to strengthen its online customer services, according to the sources.

Currently, JTB operates around 450 outlets serving individual customers, down from some 480 at the start of fiscal 2019, which ended in March this year.

The company will shut down more offices in stages. Employees working at such facilities will be relocated to other departments, the sources said.

JTB will soon start discussions on which outlets to close.

It has decided to skip this year’s winter bonuses, in response to a deterioration in earnings amid the pandemic.

JTB is currently working on structural reform measures, such as boosting operations outside its travel businesses.

Elsewhere in the struggling travel industry, H.I.S. Co. plans to shut one-third of its 260 domestic outlets.

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