Losses for On the Beach but board remains optimistic

The pandemic has continued to hit revenues at Greater Manchester listed travel company On the Beach.

Revenues for the half year to the end of March were down 79 per cent to £4.4m due to suppressed consumer demand for booking holidays in the period.

The group said whilst the UK Government’s roadmap out of lockdown had a theoretical restart date for international leisure travel of 17 May 2021, there has remained significant uncertainty around  the extent to which European destinations would be in a position to accept UK tourists; and how onerous any restrictions or requirements for travel may be.

The Group said it continues to adjust for COVID-19 related cancellations and expected cancellations.

It reported a pre-tax loss of £21.6m as revenues dropped.

On the Beach said it also has access to a £75m Revolving Credit Facility which has not been drawn since 22 May 2020.

Looking ahead, the Group remains focused on growing its market share in the long term “rather than being concerned” about summer 2021 volumes.

It said any potential upside from incremental bookings over this period would be marginal and would be offset by disruption and “loss of goodwill for holidays that would need to be cancelled or re-arranged.”

Simon Cooper

Simon Cooper, CEO of On the Beach Group, said: “The Group has experienced continued disruption through the first half and this has remained as we head into the summer. As announced on 12 May 2021, the Board took the decision to extend the Group’s off-sale period from 30 June to 31 August 2021.

“Given the recent change in status of Portugal from Green to Amber, the Board is pleased to have taken this decision early, so as to avoid customers suffering yet more turmoil and disappointment.

“On the Beach has long championed the rights of both its customers and wider holiday consumers and the Board was pleased to see that The Competition and Markets Authority has opened cases to investigate whether certain airlines have broken consumer law, by failing to offer refunds for flights customers could not legally take, thereby leaving people unfairly out of pocket.

“It is pleasing to see increased regulatory scrutiny on the travel sector and I would like to see this taken one step further with other travel companies establishing Trust Accounts, similar to ours, so that all customer monies are ringfenced and can be immediately returned should their holiday be cancelled.”