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SKI JOBS CUT & HOLIDAYS SLASHED BY BREXIT FEARS

UK firms have cut jobs by an average of 30% & slashed the number of ski holidays because of fears for the future, new research suggests.

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Most of the job cuts have been among young seasonal workers, such as ski chalet hosts and resort staff.

The research found that the number of holidays being sold has declined by almost 20% since 2016 and prices have gone up.

The survey was carried out in November by the organisation Seasonal Businesses in Travel (SBiT), which represents more than 200 outbound British travel companies.

The figures are drawn from the responses of 65 companies.

One staggering statistic suggests that there are around 66,000 fewer ski holidays available this winter than in 2016 as companies cut back.

The average increase in the cost of a ski holiday since 2016 is £97 per person, rising to as much as £370pp for the luxury end of the market.

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The 65 companies surveyed reported that they had cut their workforce by 1,700 in the past three years.

SBiT says it’s a significant acceleration in job losses since its last report published in August 2018.

The 18 to 34 age group has been most affected by the job cuts.

They make up the bulk (87%) of those who are posted to EU countries for seasonal work.

Ski seasonal worker

Young ski chalet seasonaire – photo SBiT

“If you apply even the lowest level of cuts identified in the survey across the rest of the jobs in our industry, we are already looking at job losses in the order of 3,200 people since 2016,” SBiT spokesman Charles Owen says.

“If this had happened all at once it would have made headlines.

“It really goes to highlight the unrecognised effect leaving the EU is having and will continue to have on jobs and opportunities for young people in our sector.”

The report points to average cuts in holiday programmes of 19% or 3,800 beds per week.

Over an average ski season, this equates to around 66,000 fewer holidays on sale to the UK skier for the 2019-20 season than three years ago.

“These cuts of almost a fifth in holiday programmes are in response to fears that British holiday companies will no longer be able to employ their UK staff on the continent on UK terms – for instance paying tax and NI in the UK for the NHS – and will instead have to pay into much more expensive continental state social insurance schemes,” SBiT says.

“Holiday companies plan 12 – 18 months in advance which is why Brexit has already hit these businesses.

“For many companies, cost increases of this scale will just not be feasible and they are not set up to be able to employ EU nationals.”

SBIT says it’s the small and medium sized businesses which are most at risk of being forced to close or sell up.

Some already have.

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“Small and medium sized independent companies like ours are the mainstay of the outbound travel industry and all together we represent a significant contribution to UK GDP and employment,” says Dan Fox, Managing Director of Ski Weekends.

“The EU has brought us the most incredible benefits of freedom of movement of our staff, transport and resources and holidaymakers have benefitted not just in terms of affordable prices but also but also an amazing diversity of holidays.”

KEY STATS

  • Job cuts of over 1,700 – a average 30% reduction compared to 2016
  • The larger operators have the higher percentage of job cuts at 37%
  • 64% of posted workers are 18-24 years and 23% are 25-34
  • 19% reduction in holidays available in this sector compared to 2016
  • Some firms reported cuts in their programmes of between 30% and 50%

Read the full report here:  A Crisis Upon Us – The Holiday Industry & Brexit

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