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2009 Ski Holidays Face Meltdown


Of all the travel sectors likely to be hit hardest by the current economic crises, it has to be the ski holidays industry, according to British company International Property Tribune, who have fifteen travel sites including one for skiing.

’Recent surveys have shown that during the forthcoming economic downturn in Europe and the US, many people regard their summer holiday as an essential, not a luxury, and come hell or high water people are still going to take a holiday.’

’But when it comes to a ski holiday, it’s not essential. It’s not part of society’s fabric. It isn’t an annual ritual observed by generations. A ski holiday is a luxury’ they say, ’And ski holidays can be expensive - so we anticipate the ski industry to take a big hit for their 2008/9 season.’

Compounding the drop in visitors because of the gloomy economic outlook and many families looking to make savings, the travel company at makes a further observation that will have ski resort owners from Andorra to Colorado feeling a cold wind blow across their predicted ski holiday visitor numbers.

’In the 1980’s recession it was the working classes who got hit hardest, tens of thousands of miners, car workers and others involved in industry were thrown out of work - this time the economic downturn is hitting the bankers and stockbrokers - and it’s the City of London and Wall Street bunch who take a week’s ski holiday in France, the US or Canada that are going to be cutting back their spending in the coming months.’

And while Europeans and North Americans worry about their jobs and rein in their spending this winter, tour operators and ski holiday businesses who have invested in new skiing facilities will be hoping they won’t be making redundancies of their own just to be able to keep operating until the end of the season.

La Massana

But what ski resorts will be hoping for more than anything else this winter is snow. ’Two years ago European skiing areas were devestated at the lack of snow’, say Tribune, ’And they will be hoping against hope that there’s good snowfall from mid November to mid March. If not the double whammy of no snow and the credit crunch could leave the ski fields very empty places this year.’

Typical of ski areas that stand to lose a lot in the coming year should both the credit crunch and lack of snow combine is Andorra. Andorra is a small country in the Pyrenees, and skiing is a major part of the country’s revenue. Andorra ski holidays started in the eighties as cheap alternative to ski holidays in France, but in recent years Andorra has spent millions on improving her infrastructure.

Included in the upgrade of facilities for Andorra has not only been public spending on roads and improved access to the skiing areas, but private capital investment in some very good quality hotels, with many hotels in Andorra now recognised as of a good international standard and achieving 4 or 5 star status.

And the country is spending more on her 2008/9 ski season by advertising directly in the UK for the first time to attract British skiers, money that was spent before the scale of the economic crisis and Britain’s part in it became apparent. Free skiing for children under 14 and helicopter rides over the Pyrenees are just two promotions Andorra was hoping would ensure a good year for her ski holidays industry. And private money will see an ice hotel in Andorra for the first time this year.

US and Canadian ski resorts have been investing equally heavily in their facilities, with top ski resorts such as Whistler and Colorado’s Breckenridge potentially being hit hardest as, like their European counterparts, Wall Street bankers and brokers stay at home instead of having a week of skiing with the family. If the snow is late though both US and Canadian ski resorts will have enough snow cannons to ensure skiing and snowboarding for all those who do turn up.

Ski resorts will be hoping that the real weather is as cold as the financial storms this winter.


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