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Published on Tuesday, November 17, 2020

'I'm so sorry': MD apologises as long-established operator collapses


Andy Sturt, MD and founder of boutique operator VIP Ski apologised today after placing the three-decades-old business into administration.

In a blog post on the company's website, Andy said the decision to cease trading last night was 'without doubt the hardest decision of my life'.

But he said he had called in the administrators to spare colleagues, guests, landlords and suppliers more misery and financial loss.

He wrote: "I am sincerely sorry to all of you; colleagues, guests, landlords and partners alike, for not being able to find a way through this and for letting you all down. I will continue to work tirelessly to try and assist our administrators, ReSolve, to ensure that this painful process is executed as professionally and courteously as possible.

"Thank you all for being a part of my journey over the last thirty years. After a little break I hope to try and find a way of rebuilding from scratch and making a new home for you all that I can be proud of once more."

A notice on the VIP Ski website said flight-inclusive packages are protected by the company's ATOL while accommodation-only and non-flight packages are protected by ABTOT.

Mark Supperstone and Simon Jagger of ReSolve Advisory have been appointed as joint administrators.

The Putney-based firm operated ski holidays to 10 resorts in France and Austria. It also operated a small summer holiday programme to three resorts in the French Alps. The company also owned some real estate in the Alps, having embarked on a building programme in 2001.

Andy said that since the start of the pandemic he had been trying 'desperately to wrestle a path through incoherent, inconsistent and sometimes deeply unhelpful government guidance on refunds and travel restrictions, a patchwork of European lockdowns, flight cancellations and a complete and absolute lack of specific government support for our sector'.

He added: "Despite the support of our guests and many of our partners, it has proved impossible to navigate a way through this.

"Without a sea change in booking behaviour, for which I can see no reasonable expectation in the short term, I cannot in good faith continue to trade and put our colleagues, guests, landlords and partners through the absolute chaos, personal misery and additional financial loss that would ultimately occur were our failure to happen in the middle of the ski season."

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