On the Beach has said it will consider ending its policy of not selling holidays departing before 1 September if conditions improve.
OTB extended its bar on summer 2021 bookings in May. It had previously blocked departures until 30 June, but extended this until 31 August. It said it had been correct to do so given the reclassification of Portugal, but in an interim trading statement, it added:
“This position will continue to be monitored following further government updates on travel and associated restrictions. On the Beach will return to selling summer 2021 beach holidays as soon as there is more certainty that new holidays booked will take place without disruption or cancellation, and that the traffic light requirements can be managed by authorities and consumers alike.”
Simon Cooper, chief executive, said going off sale meant customers had avoided “suffering yet more turmoil and disappointment”.
OTB’s latest figures show the continued impact of Covid on the beach holiday sector.
In the six months to the end of March 2021, the group lost £9.5 million, compared to a profit of £2.3 million year on year. Revenue adjusted for the impact of cancellations reached £12 million, compared to the previous £52.8 million.
Classic Collection Holidays, OTB’s trade portal, made a loss of £1.3 million. OTB said: “As a principal (rather than an agent) Classic accounts for revenue on a ‘travelled’ basis."
Classic Package Holidays, which allows agents to dynamically package, was hit by the closure of high street shops and lost £0.6 million.
“As very few customers were able to travel in the six months to March 2021, the H1 results have been impacted significantly,” OTB said.
OTB gave no full year guidance, saying the market was too uncertain to predict.