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'Generally, prices are likely to go up'

'Generally, prices are likely to go up'

This season saw a significant switch in the accommodation mix that will be exacerbated when Brexit finally happens.

 

Hotelplan cut its overseas staff numbers by 18% as EU countries began forcing operators to employ staff under local employment laws.

 

This has particularly affected France, where operators must match the terms and conditions of French nationals, who enjoy better pay.

 

Rankin said this meant an average 20% extra on the cost of a chalet holiday, while Carter said his brands had switched to more self-catering accommodation. Once Brexit happens and the end to free movement of labour begins, it will get worse. “Generally, prices are likely to go up,” he said.

 

There has already been one casualty. Ski-Val, which specialised in Val d’Isere and St Anton, collapsed in March after 43 years. It was licensed for just 4,170 Atol passengers and its small size meant it was unable to continue faced with all these factors.

 

Diane Palumbo, Skiworld sales and marketing director (and spokesperson for Seasonal Businesses in Travel) said this would worsen next season. “It’s a combination of overtime payments and social security charges, which increase the more significant the role,” she said.

 

“Plus we have to run payroll through French accountants. We hesitated as long as we could before launching 2019/20, but with capacity cutbacks.”

 

She added: “All of us have been really pushing back on our suppliers and saying ‘give us early-booking discounts and better lift passes’ because we have had to pass on the full effect of a pretty low exchange rate.”

 

When the sums are done, this season is expected to be slightly down because of the late Easter and Brexit.

 

Next year, Easter once again falls in mid-April, when charter aircraft are already flying to beach destinations. But there is a bright note – next season may be free of Brexit uncertainty.

 

Moreover, while winter sports is a largely static market, it is a loyal one – the Ski Club of Great Britain’s own tour operator, Freshtracks, boasts a 97-98% repeat business rate.

 

Whatever happens, the Brits will still want their snow fix.

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