Speaking at the group’s ski programme launch for its Inghams, Esprit and Ski Total brands in London, chief executive Andy Perrin said the company would have to take the pound’s decrease in value against the euro post-Brexit “on the chin” for the coming season but assured media that “the knife is not being taken to ski programmes”.
“[Brexit] has certainly slowed things down,” he said. "There are uncertainties and uncertainty is the enemy of a confident market.
“There is a double whammy effect because the pound has weakened considerably and this has made ancillary costs like ski hire and lift passes more expensive.
“The sense of confidence may not be as good as last year but it’s not a disaster. It’s looking like customers this year will have a wait and see attitude. A lot of folk will sit on the fence and see how they feel at the end of the year,” he added.
However, Perrin believed the shift in the currency markets, brought on by the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, had helped “shine a spotlight” on the value for money customers could receive by choosing the operator’s range chalets and chalet hotels - which have some food and drink costed in to guest’s stays.
Looking ahead, Perrin highlighted the operator’s “single biggest concern” post-Brexit would be an end to free movement between EU countries.
He said an agreement to end free movement would be a “devastating shame” for the group, which employs 1,500 mostly “young British” staff to run its three snow sports programmes on the continent.
Elsewhere, Hotelplan had shifted its departure dates for the upcoming season from Saturday to Friday - as a result of both Christmas Day and New Year’s Day falling on a Saturday this year.
Perrin said the change in dates would allow customers at New Year to receive an extra day’s stay for free.
Perrin also said the shift meant Hotelplan would have one week less to operate next January, with this loss of capacity helping to “tighten” demand.
“In the light of Brexit and the pound that’s not the worst thing to happen,” he added.