Brexit has increased European holiday prices by an average of £97 per person since 2016 and prompted some operators to cut nearly a third of their overseas staff, according to a new poll.
A survey of 65 independent operators in November found they had cut capacity by an average 19%, or 3,800 beds per week, meaning 66,000 fewer holidays on sale compared with 2016.
The research, A Crisis is Upon Us, carried out by pressure group Seasonal Businesses in Travel (SBIT), said: “This represents a loss of economies of scale for many companies which has filtered through to higher prices for consumers – despite the best efforts of most companies to keep prices down.”
The report found large firms were best placed to absorb cost increases, with an average £61 or 6% rise, with medium-sized firms raising prices by 14% or £98 and small firms by the same percentage, equating to an average £103 rise.
Skiworld sales and marketing director and SBIT spokesperson Diane Palumbo told TTG the £97 average increase applied to both summer and winter operators.
“I’m astounded it’s not more,” she said, adding the industry had kept costs down after “three terms of no-deal planning” since 2016 to “restructure, reorder and renegotiate” with suppliers to help offset the Brexit burden.
SBIT said the operators surveyed had cut an average 30% of staff and estimated there had been more than 1,700 jobs lost since the 2016 referendum, with a “significant acceleration” since the pressure group last highlighted the issue in August 2018.
The report said: “With most of these cuts affecting jobs seconded to the EU to run holiday operations being filled by 18 to 34-year-olds, it is this age group bearing the brunt of these job losses.”
Palumbo added that as well as the short-term impact, opportunities to progress into management would be “lost to the next generation”.