Hotelplan UK brands cut winter ski chalet programmes

Hotelplan UK ski brands Inghams, Ski Total, Esprit Ski and Flexiski are cutting their winter chalet programmes for the winter due to the ongoing impact of Covid-19.

All Esprit Ski trips have been suspended while breaks to Finland are being dropped until next winter.

Despite the “regretful” decision, the company remains hopeful it can still deliver the remainder of the ski programme once travel restrictions are lifted.

Inghams and Flexiski still plan to operate their partner hotels and self-catering apartments across Europe, including those in France with a later start date and a reduced programme.

The ski specialist operators intend to review upcoming departures on a weekly basis from January and will postpone taking customer balance payments until four weeks prior to departure date until the situation changes.

Hotelplan UK-managed chalets previously made up just 10% of the overall Inghams’ winter ski programme.

Consumer interest in Inghams’ ski holidays has increased by 50% since the latest Covid-19 vaccine news.

Hotelplan UK chief executive Joe Ponte said: “After much consideration, alongside the continual review of the latest restrictions and ongoing impacts of Covid-19 – with customer and staff safety in mind – we have sadly decided to remove the chalets and chalet hotels Hotelplan UK manage in France from our 2020-21 winter ski season offering and suspend the Esprit Ski programme in its entirety for this winter.

“Due to the ongoing travel restrictions across the UK and Europe, combined with the unpredictable and constantly evolving situation of Covid-19, we are faced with uncertain operational challenges when it comes to running our successful childcare programmes, chalets and chalet hotels.

“Over the past few months, we’ve been busy reviewing what the chalet and childcare experience would look like and our top priority has always been to keep everyone safe.

“Whilst the current Covid-19 restrictions remain in place, we will have to make some significant operational changes to our holiday experiences and we simply cannot guarantee the excellent childcare, great service and welcoming chalet experience that our customers know and love, on certain 2020-21 winter holidays.”

He added: “We know that those of our customers impacted will be very disappointed, and it is not a decision we have taken lightly.

“We have gone on sale early for the winter 2021-22 ski season, and we hope our trade partners will be able to encourage their customers to choose to join us then or pick one of our other hotels or apartments for their ski holiday this season, but if they would prefer to receive a refund, we will arrange this.

“Sadly, following the cancellation of December 2020 departures to Finland, we have also made the difficult decision to suspend the rest of our Finnish programme for this winter. We are hugely disappointed for our customers and we hope they will choose to join us next year when we kick off the winter with the Lapland adventures they’ve been greatly looking forward to.

“We’d like to thank all our customers and trade partners for their loyal support, patience and understanding, and I’d like to reassure them that we will continue to look to do the right thing by their customers.”

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