Ski holiday companies are advising that there are a couple of things to be aware of for people booking ski holidays to France over Christmas and New Year this winter. Due to pandemic border closures this will actually be the first Christmas and new year holiday Brits will have been able to spend in France, the most popular ski destination nation, for three years.
First up, the turn of the calendar means that the weekends of Christmas Eve / Christmas day 2022 and New Year’s Eve or Hogmanay and New Year’s day 2023 fall on weekends …the traditional weekly change over days. A second factor is that many schools are starting and ending their Christmas holiday breaks earlier than usual and do not have a full week off after New Year.
As a result, some tour operators are offering shorter breaks, typically five nights, to avoid travel over one on the key holiday weekends. There are also packages designed to get kids back in time for an early return to school, for many on January 3rd.
Holiday companies are presenting this as a win for skiers of course.
“Christmas holidays across Esprit and Inghams continue to fill quickly. New Year departures are a little different this year, with some schools returning before 7-night holiday return dates, allowing for some excellent deals to be had on New Year ski holidays,” said John Mansell, Inghams COO.
While Crystal Ski Holidays say they’re sticking to New Year’s eve flights but that skiers will find packages cheaper than usual as a result,
“Those who like to go away for New Year will see bigger savings than in normal years as we fly out to destinations on New Year’s Eve,” said Scott Britton the company’s Head of Commercial.
The second issue is that France closed its borders to Brits for about a month last winter which included Christmas and New Year weeks. As a result many people held-over their holiday bookings, and some that held them over the winter before are still waiting to travel. So this, along with leading travel companies reporting record demand, may mean limited availability to new bookings.
“We had a lot of clients booked for Christmas and New Year 2021 and when Omicron prevented these from happening many clients decided to either go later in the season or postpone to December 2022,” confirmed Xavier Schouller, boss of French ski specialists Peak Retreats and Ski Collection, who added, “We are finding that the New Year week is generating a lot more interest than we expected despite most schools going back on the 3rd and this may be due to much lower prices than normal New Year weeks.”
Some travel companies are warning that lower prices and held over holidays will mean availability could quickly disappear,
“We have record new year occupancy levels for this stage of the booking cycle,” explained CEO of SNO Richard Sinclair. “Some suppliers have adjusted dates to suit customers not wanting to travel on New Year’s Eve, and some are sticking with weekend to weekend, so there’s a selection of options for any preference, and it’s on course for an early sell-out.”