Inghams parent Hotelplan UK has pulled its winter 2020/21 chalet and chalet hotel offering owing to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
The move will also affect its Ski Total, Flexiski and Esprit Ski brands, with Esprit Ski’s winter programme cancelled in its entirety.
Hotelplan has also suspended all planned trips to Finland, including Lapland, until next winter after initially cancelling its planned December 2020 departures.
The group, though, said it remained hopeful of delivering the remainder of its winter 2020/21 ski programme, once Covid travel restrictions are lifted – noting a 50% increase in consumer interest in Inghams’ ski holidays since the encouraging Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine news emerged earlier this month.
"After much consideration, alongside the continual review of the latest restrictions and ongoing impacts of Covid-19 with customer and staff safety in mind, we have sadly decided to remove the chalets and chalet hotels Hotelplan UK manage in France from our 2020/21 winter ski season offering and suspend the Esprit Ski programme in its entirety for this winter," said Hotelplan UK chief executive Jose Ponte.
Ponte said travel restrictions in the UK and Europe, combined with the constantly evolving Covid situation, meant the business had been left facing "uncertain operational challenges" when it came to chalets, chalet hotels and childcare.
"We simply cannot guarantee the excellent childcare, great service and welcoming chalet experience our customers know and love on certain 2020/21 winter holidays," Ponte added.
Ponte said Hotelplan had placed its winter 2021/22 season on sale early to ensure agents can offer clients a rebooking alternative, but stressed their clients were able to seek a refund instead.
The rest of Hotelplan’s reduced winter 2020/21 programme is still scheduled to go ahead as planned, albeit with a later start.
"Inghams and Flexiski are still planning to operate their partner hotels and self-catering apartments across Europe, including those in France," said Ponte.
"Hotelplan UK managed chalets previously made up just 10% of the overall Inghams’ winter ski programme, so today’s reduction will still leave plenty of Inghams accommodation options in operation this season."
From January 2021 onwards, Hotelplan’s ski brands will review upcoming departures on a weekly basis and will postpone taking customer balance payments until four weeks prior departure until the situation changes.