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Published on Friday, December 2, 2016

Discerning Collection to launch ski holidays

Upmarket operator The Discerning Collection is adding ski holidays to its programme to extend its business beyond the summer season.

Managing director Nick Wrightman, who launched the company in 2011, said he needed to have a winter programme to keep the company's cashflow going.

"Being summer only is tough for me in terms of cash flow, particularly because I operate a trust, which gives customers extra protection," said Wrightman, who previously owned Turkey, Greece and Croatia specialist Tapestry Holidays, which ceased trading 10 years ago.

"Except for paying for the flights, all the money goes into the trust account until the clients come back. This means I need a winter business too."

The operator has teamed up with catered ski chalet company Snow Chateaux, which has around 20 properties in Tignes, Meribel and La Plagne.

Wrightman hopes it can start selling the ski product in a few weeks, but says he realizes he's coming late into the 2016/17 season.

He plans to properly push the ski holidays for winter 2017/18.

Alongside the ski programme, The Discerning Traveller is hoping to boost winter bookings further by selling small, intimate cruises in Cuba, the Seychelles and the Canary Islands with Variety Cruises.

But Wrightman says the main focus for the company is still Turkey, which accounts for around 80% of its business.

"That will drop to around 70% next year, but it's still our main market," he said.

Around 20 new villas are being added in Turkey for summer 2017.

"We were 12% down on Turkey last year, but the resorts we feature - such as Kas and Kalkan - haven't suffered anywhere near as much as the likes of Marmaris and Antalya," said Wrightman.

"Despite the negative press, Turkey has a lot to offer tourists and I believe it will still be our best-selling destination for 2017."

Montenegro, which was new for 2016, is also being expanded.

"Montenegro is steeped in history and combined with Croatia we will be able to offer guests beautiful twin centre stays," said Wrightman.

Luxury four-cabin yacht holidays are also being added for Greek island cruises.


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