Travel industry experts think ski market has “bottomed out”
“Cautiously optimistic” can be used to describe the ski industry this year. The recession has put some people off their second holidays, while Crystal’s annual ski report for 2011-12 shows that more than 332,000 skiers have dropped out of the market since 2007-08. But there are reasons to be cheerful. Last season’s drop of 1.8% quoted in the report was the smallest drop in the market since the decline began, making industry experts think the market has “bottomed out”.
“We’re at the bottom and there is scope to grow going forward,” says Simon Cross, managing director of Tui Ski.
Joy Lacana, head of agency sales at Club Med: “Last year was tough in the beginning because we were a bit late on snow. However, we finished well as there was snow in the Alps until quite late. Overall our sales are doing amazingly, especially through the trade. People feel more positive.”
This year, the snow has already started to fall for 2012-13 with “excellent piste conditions” reported in Val d’Isere and Les Deux Alpes in France as well as Austria, Italy and Switzerland. Success in the ski sector also has a lot to do with the timing of Europe’s holidays. With Easter falling earlier in 2013 agents and operators are reporting encouraging early bookings.
Many in the trade are also looking into adding value to holidays, for example bundling together packages that include ski hire or a lift pass.
[pictured: Mountain near St Moritz, Switzerland; © 2009 TUI AG]