Over 50s insurance and cruise giant, Saga, has reportedly disclosed that it incurred a £61 million loss before tax in 2020, after the global COVID-19 pandemic stopped it from running its tours and cruises, forcing it to refund its customers.
Last year, the travel and insurance company cut around 36 per cent of its workforce, which is more than a third of its staff, as it moved to reduce costs. Although the firm also raised approximately £150 million from shareholders in September.
Saga confirmed that it is ready to resume its cruises and tours when government restrictions ease out. The company also reported that there is a strong demand from customers who wish to travel.
In January, the cruise giant became the first UK-based travel operator to inform cruise and holiday customers that they need to be fully vaccinated in order to travel with them this summer.
Customers who wish to travel on Saga cruises or tours would be required to show their vaccination card or a letter from their GP stating that they have been vaccinated against coronavirus, with the two necessary doses if needed, at least 14 days before leaving. The passengers would also be required to take a COVID-19 test at the departure terminal.
Euan Sutherland, chief executive, Saga Group, stated that the firm received immense support for its two-vaccination policy for customers who want to travel.
The group reported strong demand among its customers for travel and stated that its holidays were 83 per cent booked for this year, while its cruises were 78 per cent booked for this very season.
The cruise giant reported total cruise bookings of £154 million for 2021-2022 and 2022-2023, as compared to £128 million at the same point in 2020, which the firm states is a 20 per cent improvement.
In the meantime, more promising debt repayment terms have been negotiated again for two of its latest cruise ships, which includes the one it received last year in September, giving the firm more financial flexibility.