The UK’s biggest tour operator, Tui, is to close 166 high street stores in the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

The decision was made following changes in customer behaviour, the firm said in a statement.

Around 350 retail stores will remain following the closures.

Andrew Flintham, managing director of Tui UK and Ireland, said: “We want to be in the best position to provide excellent customer service, whether it’s in a high street store, over the telephone or online, and will continue to put the customer at the heart of what we do.

“It is therefore imperative that we make these difficult cost decisions, look after our colleagues during such unprecedented uncertainty and also offer a modern customer service.”

It has not been revealed which branches will close.

The operator has branches at Wimborne Road, Winton; Kingland Crescent, Poole; Saxon Square, Christchurch; and Lymington High Street.