Q: Will I still be able to go skiing after Brexit, and will it be more expensive?
Whilst most of us are bored of talking about Brexit, when it eventually happens, it will of course have implications on our daily lives, and also on our European holidays – and in particular our skiing holidays.
So first off, will we still be able to go skiing after Brexit?
The answer is of course! You can go skiing to North America, Argentina, Japan – and don’t forget Scotland – and none of this will be affected by Brexit. But that’s not what we’re looking at – will we be able to go skiing in Europe after Brexit? Again the answer will be yes, but the nature of our European skiing holidays may change.
The only reason we wouldn’t be able to go skiing in Europe, is if we all needed visas to travel from Britain to Europe – even with the hardest of Brexit’s, I don’t think that’s going to happen – and even if it did, one would expect to get a visa for a week’s skiing holiday.
Q: So how might our skiing holidays change?
There are three aspects to think about:
- How we travel to the ski resort
- Where we stay – hotel, self-catered apartment, catered chalet
- The price of local service providers
All of these will be affected in some way by Brexit. Some sectors have already started making changes.
How you travel to the Alps shouldn’t be impacted too severely by Brexit. At the moment, you can choose independent travel or package holiday travel. And within that, you can self-drive, fly, coach or train. We have to assume that flights and trains and ferries will carry on running as normal after Brexit – border crossings may take longer, and prices will probably rise. There’s talk of driving on the continent needing an international license – at the moment we can drive in Europe on our British driving licence.
So there will be changes to travel, but one would hope they’d be minor, and we’d still arrive in good shape at our chosen resort.
The accommodation part of your ski holiday is probably what will change the most. A lot of this is down to staff costs. British companies that send British workers overseas have to comply to local labour laws, and whereas in the past some companies may not have been totally compliant, British companies are now under the spotlight, and so are making sure they comply. This means that staff are paid more (long gone are the days of doing a ski season in return for pocket money and a ski pass), and they are allowed two days off a week. As an employer you can choose to give staff two days off a week or give them one day off a week and pay them in lieu for the second day. Hence, some ski companies are offering 5 days service in a catered chalet, and some are still offering 6 days.
A catered chalet holiday will change the most, as we traditionally employ British staff to look after you in the chalet. So for this season, staff costs have risen, and some companies will be giving staff 2 days off each week. So it’s likely that a chalet holiday will cost you more this year, and in some cases you may be getting less for your money. Check carefully with your holiday company as to what they’re offering. Meribel Ski Chalets will continue to offer you a 6-day catered chalet service, and our usual high standard of service in all our chalets. In the future, getting British staff to work in chalets may be difficult, so you could well be looked after in your catered chalet by European staff. We’re also seeing less catered chalets on offer, as companies cut back on the number of staff they need. Less supply will inevitably lead to increased costs. This is the sector of the ski holiday market where most will change, and we’ll have to wait for the dust to settle, to see what long-term impact Brexit will have on catered chalet holidays.
Hotels tend to employ more European staff, although if you’re on a package holiday, your rep will usually be British. So you can expect to see a small rise in the cost of your hotel stay. However if you’re staying in a local hotel, arranged independently, then you probably shouldn’t notice too much changing.
Self-catered apartments or chalets. We could see a big growth in this area of the market, because companies won’t have to cover the extra staff costs. There are a lot of self-catered apartments available in many resorts, but over time, with the increased demand, one would expect their prices to go up. You can book a self-catered holiday as part of a package or you can travel independently, and find local agents offering accommodation – or of course there’s Air BnB. A relatively new addition to the self-catered holiday, is the food delivery service. Many larger resorts offer this, whereby, you pre-order your meals, and they get delivered to your door daily. You just pop them in the oven and enjoy. It’s a great way to do a ski holiday, without the hassle of cooking for yourselves.
It seems that prices will rise for travel and accommodation. It will most likely rise for local services too. If resorts that rely on British visitors are seeing fewer Brits through the lift turnstiles, then over time, lift passes prices will have to rise, as fewer people share the cost of the lift companies operating the same service that they do now. This won’t happen immediately but could certainly happen over the years. The benefit is of course, emptier slopes.
Does this mean that skiing will now become the leisure activity for the privileged few? I don’t think so. I think the growth of the self-catered sector, and more budget hotel rooms will mean there’ll always be an affordable way to go skiing.
So forget Brexit, and start praying for snow – that’s what we really want…