Tour operator Collette is to close its UK business at the end of April next year.

The American-based escorted touring specialist, headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, celebrated its 100th year in business in 2018.

Agents in the UK can continue to book up until April 30, 2020, but it is understood the UK sales team will leave their roles on Friday, March 8.

As recently as June 2018, Collette said it was aiming to increase its visibility to UK agents by expanding its UK sales team to four people.

At the time, the company said around 90% of sales were made through the trade.

A statement from Collette said: “In order to focus on its expanding operations in the US, Canada and Australia, Collette has decided to no longer have a physical presence in the UK marketplace beyond 30 April 2020.

“Collette continues to accept new reservations for travel up to 30 April 2020 which will operate with full Atol and Abta protection. Existing reservations will operate as booked.

“Agents and guests can continue to travel and book with confidence.  For travel by UK guests beyond April 2020, Collette is evaluating offering their global product line in the UK on a wholesale basis.”

Travel Weekly understands Collette’s UK sales team will leave their roles on Friday, March 8.

There had been four in the sales team: Lisa Rhodes, who looked after agents in the north, Tony Mahoney for Wales, Northern Ireland and the southwest, Simeon Douglas, for the Midlands, and head of UK sales Neil Sehmbhy. Head of partnerships in the UK, Stephen Mills, is also expected to leave the business.

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