Despite Brexit-fatigue, the Brexit panel in the afternoon of the 2019 LISTEX Summer Session was the best attended session of the day.

The panel was chaired by Mark Frary and he was joined by Laurent Vanat, Sean Newsom (, Ian Hope (Ski Famille), Farina Azam (Travlaw) and Martina Jamnig (Austrian Tourist Office).

While Sean Newsom took a more positive approach, Ian Hope felt that a scaled down ski industry was already happening:

“Around 15-20% of beds were dropped by the big tour operators immediately after the referendum.

“The risk comes from employing staff, so the big employers are scaling back. Smaller, more nimble companies will be able to adapt more easily.”

Laurent Vanat revealed that his research suggests that Brexit is likely to see a 10% decrease in the size of the UK market and it was noted that Ski Val went out of business earlier this season, after 40 years of providing ski holidays.

“I don’t think we’ve seen the end of the demise of ski tour operators in 2019. The end of March week was a disaster.”

Sean Newsom felt that UK skiers will adapt and travel to the slopes by coach if necessary. He also pointed out that there are a lot of well-trained, experienced hospitality staff

When Mark Frary asked “Is the UK market ready for Polish staff in ski resorts?”, Ian Hope was unequivocal:

“Yes, absolutely and it’s already happening.”

Hope also noted that chalet owners are digging their heels in and are not prepared to discount their contract prices yet, and that the Dutch are picking up chalets dropped by UK operators.

A show of hands suggested that 75% of attendees felt that the UK would not have left the EU by the time of the next LISTEX Summer Session in May 2020.

When asked what they felt the best options were for the UK, Sean Newsom insisted that

“We should stay in the single market at any cost.”

Ian Hope was hoping for ‘the softest Brexit possible’, while Mark Frary spoke for all Remainers:

“Germany Plus looks the best option!”


Watch out for the next Brexit instalment at LISTEX 2019 in September.