Tour agency CEO’s letter to employees reflects industry hardship

22-Oct-2020 Intellasia | KoreaTimes | 6:02 AM Print This Post

A travel agency CEO is attracting attention for his candid letter to employees about the company’s recent massive layoffs, according to industry officials, Wednesday.

Yang Joo-il, head of NHN DoctorTour ? also known as Tour baksa ? sent an email to senior employees on Tuesday, expressing his thoughts on the company’s downsizing and the future of the business.

The firm shocked the tour industry when it announced the dismissal of 250 of its 260 employees on October 13. It is under de facto shutdown and has not taken any new reservations since August, a notice on its website says.

“I wished this day wouldn’t come, but it has come after all,” Yang said in his letter. “Some might be blaming me for the sudden announcement, thinking it was all part of my plan. But I hope that it will not undermine my sincere promise and efforts that I’ve made for the company.”

He apologised and said that due to budget constraints, the retirement pay equivalent of a month’s salary is all he can offer employees who submit voluntary resignation letters.

Yang also shared his thoughts on the travel industry’s grim future, even after the pandemic, saying it will only go downhill.

“When the travel bans are lifted after the pandemic, every single tour agency will put in all efforts to recover their current loss. It will only lead to excessive competition, with no winners,” he said, advising his employees to find new jobs in other sectors.

Yang became CEO of the medium-sized agency in April after serving as CEO of NHN TicketLink.

His letter has gained attention as it speaks of many other companies in the travel industry that are going through tough times amid the prolonged pandemic.

“We have been offering employees unpaid leave since May,” an official at Hana Tour told The Korea Times. “Since the future is unpredictable and nobody knows when the pandemic will end, we are trying to make systemic changes in our products and services.”

Over 600 travel agencies in Korea have shut down since the coronavirus outbreak, data from the Korea Tourism Association (KTA) showed. The country had 21,672 tour agencies in operation as of June, down 612 from December 2019.

Other travel companies seem to be barely maintaining their businesses by cutting personnel through unpaid leave or layoffs.

Lotte Tour Development recently dismissed a third of its employees from the travel department. They had been offered unpaid leave since September, and the company is now receiving voluntary resignations. JauTour also significantly downsized its workforce, dismissing some 100 of its 130 employees.


Category: Korea

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