German travel startup Getyourguide lets go of a sixth of staff

BERLIN, Oct 14 (Reuters) - Getyourguide, one of Berlin’s best-backed travel startups, said on Wednesday it has laid off 90 people, or a sixth of its staff, after the coronavirus pandemic hit its business of tours and trips.

A spokesman confirmed a report in tech publication Gruenderszene on the job cuts, which come barely a year and a half after the company raised nearly $500 million from investors led by Softbank’s Vision Fund.

“As our view of the market’s path to recovery has come into focus, it’s become clear that it was necessary for us to adapt our company to the present reality,” Getyourguide said.

As well as being forced into a go-slow by the pandemic, Europe’s travel tech industry has chafed at the terms offered by Google - the search engine it relies on heavily for online referrals - urging the Alphabet unit to offer more flexibility on payments until business picks up.

Getyourguide specialises in offering in-destination walking tours and jump-the-queue tickets to museums and monuments.

Co-founder and chief executive Johannes Reck warned in March that the coronavirus would plunge travel startups into a “nuclear winter”, but said Getyourguide had the flexibility to go into hibernation mode until tourism picks up again. (Reporting by Douglas Busvine Editing by Tomasz Janowski)