Crystal Ski Holidays Axes Entire Chalet Programme for Next Winter

The UK’s largest ski tour operators is ending its chalet business. It blames Covid-19 and will have huge implications for next season’s ski and snowboard holidays.

Crystal is owned by the holiday giant TUI and the powers that be would have thought long and hard about the decision, and concluded the financial numbers simply do not stack up.

There are significant costs in running the holidays and it looks like they have decided the risks are too big.

Crystal had originally planned to run 30 chalets this coming season, out of the 45 it usually offers, but said it just wasn’t possible anymore.

Crystal Ski Holidays will continue to offer self-catered accommodation and hotel stays.

It reports significant increased interest in these types of holiday.

The company  has been steadily reducing the number of chalets it offers over recent years and, though a sizeable part of its programme, chalet holidays are not as important as they are for some of the other big players.

“Sadly, due to the impact of covid-19, Crystal Ski Holidays is no longer operating a chalet programme for the winter 2020/2021 season,” it said in a statement.

“We’re sorry for any disappointment but the health and safety of our customers is our top priority.

“There are still a range of great ski holiday options available to choose from, including self- catering apartments to half board hotels.

“We’re proactively contacting everyone affected to discuss a full range of flexible options available, including amending to an alternative ski holiday, or cancelling and receiving a full refund.”

Covid-19 has had a huge impact on the global tourism industry and it look like this will continue into the winter with a significant impact on snowsports.

Brexit will also be extremely challenging as it is still unclear what the rules are for the movement of labour – this underpins how the UK catered chalet business model works in Europe.

At the moment overseas staff employed on a contract pre-31st December 2020 seem OK to work the season.

When employment laws in Switzerland changed a few years back it proved untenable for the majority of operators to run a chalet programme, End of the Swiss Chalet Holiday

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Crystal Ski Holidays

Crystal Ski Holidays

This week Crystal Ski Holidays was promoting its Covid-19 measures in a press release.

It said it was introducing a range of ‘peace of mind’ reassurances that will ensure their customers’ experiences are safe and enjoyable:

  • If a customer is diagnosed with COVID-19, or is showing symptoms and needs to self-isolate before they are due to travel, they can amend their holiday free of charge
  • Anyone who can’t travel because they live in an area which goes into local lockdown can also amend their holiday free of charge
  • If there are local restrictions in a resort which mean you can’t ski, customers will be proactively contacted so they can amend or cancel their holiday free of charge
  • If customers need to quarantine when they arrive or return from a destination, they can amend or cancel their holiday free of charge
  • If the FCO advises that all but essential travel is permitted to a destination, customers can amend or cancel for free

“It’s natural for people to feel anxious but we want our customers to know they can book a Crystal Ski Holiday with confidence,” said the managing director of Crystal Ski Holiday, Chris Logan,

“We provide expert service every step of the way, all our holidays are ATOL protected and we have put in place our ‘peace of mind’ reassurances to allow flexible amends and give people as much reassurance as possible in the current climate.

“We will make sure our customers are fully aware of any local regulations in place before they travel, and they will also have access to us 24/7 whilst they are away.

“We’ll always make sure our holidays always meet exceptionally high health and safety standards and are enjoyable for everyone.”

The other UK chalet operators will be taking interest in the development.

The same factors that have influenced the Crystal decision will be affecting them.

Two other big players, Inghams and Ski World, have already been cutting back their chalet programmes for next season but are still offering the product.

Others may feel there is business to pick up as the largest UK operator leaves the arena.

However Crystal has been reducing its chalets for the last decade or so.

They have been significant, but not essential, to the ski holidays it offers.

However although not altogether a total surprise, it feels like the end of an era.

Not least for all the young people who took a gap year (or two) with Crystal to “do a season”.

End of an era

End of an era

Crystal Ski Holidays is the leading ski holiday tour operator in the UK, with more than 35 years’ experience of providing ski holidays in Europe and North America.

Crystal Ski Holidays offers holidays to 13 ski destinations in over 100 resorts from 21 UK airports including flights, accommodation and transfers as standard.

Here at PlanetSKI we will be updating this article with further news, reaction and analysis so do check back…