On the Beach’s chief executive has branded the transport secretary’s “update” on air bridges yesterday “unhelpful and detrimental”.
Grant Shapps said in a statement to parliament yesterday he would “shortly” begin to ease the 14-day quarantine on arrival rules.
He said he would announce further details, including a full list of the countries and territories exempted later this week, adding the Foreign Office was reviewing its travel advice and further details on this would also be announced later this week.
Speaking to TTG following On the Beach Group’s financial results update this morning, chief executive Simon Cooper said: “It just said they [the government] were deferring the announcement, and obviously you’ve got a load of people due to travel within a week and don’t even know if they’re going yet.
“So it’s hugely unhelpful and detrimental to consumer confidence and customer service.
“How can you have a situation where I can’t tell you whether you’re going to travel in six days?”
On the Beach said this morning it was presented with an “exciting opportunity” to increase market share.
“If you think back to 2009 where dozens of travel companies collapsed that was under the pressure of the global recession, which led to a shrinking of the economy of about 10% and travel shrank by 30%,” said Cooper.
“This year I’d be surprised if outbound travel didn’t shrink by 50%-plus. And of course the UK economy is going to shrink by a great deal more than 10%. So just the pressure relatively, you are going to see collapses.
“That then leads to opportunities to acquire distressed or brand assets or what have you and take market share forward, whether that’s in the UK or internationally.”
He added: “We don’t own or commit to any inventory which is very helpful amid a volatile backdrop. We don’t trade using customer cash. If we have to return it, it’s far less painful.
“And the action that we took to control cash outflow at the start of this and the rephrasing and extension of funding puts us in a very strong position.”