British ski operators have been left “in complete limbo” by the lack of progress on Brexit, the Seasonal Businesses in Travel (SBIT) coalition of 200 British outbound travel companies has said.
SBIT spokesperson Diane Palumbo told TTG bookings around the proposed date of the UK’s departure from the EU (March 29) had dwindled as the government’s prevaricated over Brexit, while operators had been left exposed to perhaps the worst trading environment since the 2008 financial crash.
“In October, people were still booking for the April school holidays, but even then bookings were dribbling in for March 30,” said Palumbo.
“Then in mid-December, when Theresa May delayed the vote on her Brexit deal, these bookings stopped altogether.”
Palumbo added Westminster’s subsequent failure to negotiate Brexit had left the ski sector “in complete limbo”. “Anyone who says otherwise is not telling the truth,” she said.
The warning follows the collapse last week of Val-Ski Ltd, operating as Ski-Val, after 43 years of business. The operator, also a member of SBIT, specialised in trips to Val d’Isere and St Anton. TTG has not been able to reach the company for comment.
“I think Brexit has hit in two ways,” said Palumbo, Skiworld’s sales and marketing director.
“Foreign exchange rates have pushed costs, and therefore, prices up. For a ski holiday, that’s not just accommodation and transport, but lift passes and ski hire.
“I suspect, just as in 2008, this will have reduced the number of people skiing, making it a tough market.
“Secondly, I think poor sales around March 30 and after – caused almost certainly by Brexit uncertainty – will have hit Ski-Val. It’s sad news another small specialist has disappeared.”
Ski-Val said in a statement: “It is with great sadness we inform you Val-Ski Ltd has ceased trading,” adding it was liaising with the CAA’s Atol crisis management team.
A CAA spokesperson confirmed at the time of Ski-Val’s failure (March 13), there was a “small number” of clients abroad who returned home over the weekend. No Ski-Val clients are currently believed to be overseas.
The operator was licensed to carry 4,170 Atol-protected passengers.