ALMOST 100 jobs are at risk as a holiday company gets ready to close down its south coast operation.
Sailing holiday and boat rental firm Sunsail will relocate its office in Port Solent, Portsmouth, to Surbiton, where other travel companies in its group are based, from March 2014.
Just under 100 people are employed at its offices in Port Solent’s Marina Keep and, though some have already agreed to move with the business, the majority will lose their jobs.
One employee facing redundancy, who asked not to be named, said: ‘It’s a sad time for everyone working in the Portsmouth office and bad news for Port Solent.
‘Sunsail’s UK operations have been based at Port Solent for over 20 years and will be missed when the office closes and moves to Surbiton.
‘There are a lot of people working here who will be looking for jobs at a time where there isn’t an awful lot about.’
Sunsail is owned by Tui Travel plc, which also owns well-known holiday brands Crystal Ski, Thomson, and First Choice.
The firm was founded in 1974, and remains the largest sailing and watersports holiday company in the market.
Marion Telsnig, spokeswoman for Tui, said the decision had been made to move Sunsail after the lease on the Port Solent premises came up for renewal and was not due to the economy.
She said: ‘We are in the process of consulting with our staff on a one-to-one basis.
‘A number of staff have already decided they will come to the new office.
‘It is quite a distance for them to go, so we are helping them in that process.
‘Obviously, we don’t want to lose people.’
She added: ‘The offices in Portsmouth came up for renewal so the question was “what do we do?”.
‘The decision was made because we have back offices up here so it would make sense to relocate.
‘Joining the operations in Surbiton will allow Sunsail customers to benefit from many of the initiatives already implemented to the other brands in the Surbiton office including electronic information packs, e-tickets, and in-resort updates through Twitter and Facebook.’