A COMPANY which provides coach holidays across the country from its base in Bournemouth is axing 177 jobs because of the coronavirus crisis.

Daish's Holidays, which has 25 coaches and 10 hotels, including the Bournemouth Sands Hotel, said it was acting to safeguard the business following the government’s advice on social distancing measures.

George Brown, managing director of the Westbourne-based firm, said: “Following the prime minister’s announcement on Monday to avoid social contact and all non-essential travel, we had to make difficult decisions to try and safeguard the longer term future of the group and reduce our costs across all companies. Inevitably and with regret, this will mean job losses amongst many other measures we will have to take.

“This is not a decision we have made lightly but have been left with no choice, given the impact of the current health crisis and the devastating knock-on effect to the tourism industry.”

A statement from the company, headquartered in West Cliff Gardens, added: "177 members of staff, across the entire group, are being laid off as a result of the current health crisis. We are continuing to monitor the impact of the current situation on the business.”

Among those being made redundant were call centre staff who had been handling enquiries from over-70s concerned about their holidays, one source said.

The 40-year-old company provides package holidays including transport and hotel stays with nightly live entertainment.

It only recently announced the acquisition of its 10th hotel, the Esplanade Hotel in Scarborough.

Its other sites include the Hotel Prince Regent and Russell Hotel in Weymouth.