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26 November 2014 09:25
Ski holiday companies may have to offer fewer trips to Austria
Hundreds of thousands of UK tourists who enjoy skiing holidays in Austria could soon face big price hikes.
This follows Austria complying with new EU legislation forcing the country to pay overseas staff - including around 500 UK employees - the minimum wage of £790 per month.
The cost will be passed on to holidaymakers and one ski holiday expert believes this could put a maximum £140 on the cost of a family skiing trip to Austria.
Wherever you go on your skiing holiday, you can get a skiing holiday insurance package to suit your needs.
This could provide insurance for damage or loss of equipment, slope closure compensation as well as cancellation and medical cover.
The Austrian ski holiday trade's overseas staff have traditionally had lower wages made up by free food, drink and accommodation.
Now ski resort companies will have to pay overseas staff at least £790 regardless of any other perks or face a fine of around £8,000.
Switzerland adopted similar steps last year, a move that saw many cash-conscious skiers switch their allegiance to Austria, with as many as 400,000 Britons skiing there in 2013. But France is still the UK's preferred skiing destination.
British tour companies are now seriously contemplating their next steps, which could include lowering the amount of trips offered and price hikes.
Powder White's co-founder Fraser Ewart-White says Austria's compliance with the new EU law could damage the country's standing as a ski resort that offers value for money.
The ski holiday firm official said that he believed a big rise in staff payments could result in Austrian family ski trips climbing by a maximum of £140.
Mr Ewart-White said that the new law would harm the Austrian ski holiday trade "immensely" as well as visitors' pockets.
Several Swiss ski firms were forced to shut down operations following the similar ruling there.
He anticipates that his firm may have to push up prices by a maximum of 46% across nine chalets that Powder White operates in its St Anton resort in Austria.
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