THE UK’s third largest holiday company has suspended all new holiday bookings until August 31 because of growing uncertainty on international travel and confusion over the Government’s traffic light system.
Online giant OnTheBeach will not sell any further holidays until the end of summer, but will honour bookings already made before May 12.
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Boss Simon Cooper said: “There’s nothing we want more than to be able to send customers on holiday, but with the current number of unknowns we don’t think that now is the right time for customers to book new holidays departing in the next few months.
“We don’t know enough yet about how the traffic light system will work in practice, and it doesn’t currently give any certainty or clarity.
“There is likelihood of disruption or even cancellations for the many customers who want to book more than three weeks in advance.
“Given this, there is too much uncertainty for us to take new bookings with confidence that they will go ahead.
“As a result, we have taken the decision to stop selling holidays for this summer until customers have greater clarity and can make more informed booking decisions.”
The online travel agent took more than 1.6million Brits on holidays in 2019 but attracted criticism in 2020 when it struggled to refund customers when the pandemic hit and the UK was plunged into lockdown.
Cooper added: “Unlike many of our competitors, we have no interest in selling holidays that are unlikely to happen, as our business model enables us to put customers first, rather than needing to get cash in the door to contribute to high fixed costs, and offering refunds in the form of a voucher when holidays get cancelled.
“This is a temporary measure that we will review in line with the next Government announcement.
“In the meantime, we will focus our efforts on helping and advising our customers who already have bookings of their options to either still go on their holiday, amend their holiday or, where the holiday is cancelled, refunding them in cash within 14 days.”