Ski bookings soar as optimism returns

France COVID rules
By Linsey McNeill
Home » Ski bookings soar as optimism returns

Inghams says ski bookings for the past two weeks have been 35% higher than for the same period of 2019 as it looks forward to the first full ski season in three years.

Joe Ponte, CEO of parent company Hotelplan, said the full 2021/22 programme will go on sale on 1 November.

However, its popular chalet programme has been shrunk down to just 17 properties to reduce the company’s dependency on UK seasonal workers.

“We have scaled down the chalet programme to be the best version of itself to make sure we can staff them this season, post-Brexit,” said Mr Ponte.

As UK travel companies are no longer able to freely employ British chalet staff in the EU, Inghams has had to recruit English-speaking staff with EU passports or apply for visas for British employees in key roles.

As a result, Inghams will employ only around 400 staff overseas for this coming winter, which is ‘significantly’ less than previously, said Mr Ponte.

However, its hotel programme has been expanded with the addition of 35 new properties, with the emphasis on premium, he added.

Its self-catering apartments are also selling ‘really well’, he said.

One potential thorn in the side of ski operators this winter is France’s insistence that everyone from the age of 12 must be vaccinated or present a recent negative PCR before entering bars and restaurants and to be allowed to use public swimming pools or even take a train.

Unless there is a relaxation of the rule before the winter season, it will mean that anyone from the age of 12 who hasn’t been fully vaccinated will have to get a PCR test in resort every three days.

To make it easier for families, Inghams will have a “COVID hub’ on its website, which will include locations for the nearest test centres in every resort.

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