Travel Webcast

Ski Industry Struggling In Wake Of COVID-19

As the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe, ski resorts have closed in response to government interventions and the decreasing number of skiers.

Now, Oxford Ski has released research on how much the Coronavirus is likely to cost the ski industry and what’s being done to help it.

The research indicates that in the average year, 38% of all ski bookings are from after late February; in which 132 million people around the world would usually be heading to the slopes for the end of the Northern hemisphere seasons and the start of the Southern.

In dollars and cents, 132 million skiers represent over $189 billion of revenue for the ski industry and its suppliers, such as airlines, transfer services, and food and drink vendors.

But as governments and parent companies around the world reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic, ski resorts closed rapidly to protect customers and prevent the spread of the virus.

The result, is that the ski industry and its suppliers will see an estimated 38% of revenue missing from their books.

As resorts along the Alps (representing 44% of all skier visits) are now closed, due to government lockdowns and interventions across the continent, over $82 billion of revenue is thought to be lost; with ski accommodation companies in the Alps predicted to see a $35 billion fall in revenues.

Changing Rules

Then, on April 4, 2020, the UK Foreign Office issued an advisory to travellers on social media saying that it “indefinitely advises against all non-essential global travel” – a change from its original travel advisory which was in effect up to April 16.

And while Oxford Ski said that this might seem negative in the short term, in the long term, according to experts at Tourism Economics, it is expected that the travel industry as a whole will recover by 2023; with those in the ski industry feeling confident that the industry will have bounced back even sooner, with bookings still coming in for the 2020/2021 Winter season.

In response to the outbreak and the potential missing income from the travel sector, travel bodies have called for both government and consumer help; to stem the lack and outward flow of cash as the industry as a whole has been grounded.

In the UK, the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) has asked for an emergency government consumer hardship fund to help fulfil the sheer numbers of refund payments being requested for those who have booked a package; they are also asking that credits should be allowed as an alternative to cash refunds, allowing travel businesses to retain some working finances.

Help Is Needed

In terms of what could help the industry, travel companies have pleaded with consumers to be patient and, if possible, speak to your travel company to arrange credit for your booking or change to an alternative date.

On the current situation, Rupert Longsdon, founder of Oxford Ski, comments: “The COVID-19 virus is not something many would have expected coming into 2020. While we are doing everything we can to talk to resorts and other suppliers, we believe that as an industry we must come together and help consumers as best as we can, providing clear and concise information to those with bookings.”

Longsdon continues: “At the same time, while it is understandable customers want to know their money is safe, by taking alternative forms of a refund or postponing bookings to later dates, you will help the industry and the many thousands of people that rely on bookings for work.”

As well, he says: “We would advise all customers with bookings for the rest of this season to talk to their travel insurance, tour, accommodation and airline operators, to get up to date information and support as to the status of their bookings and policies on refunds, credit and alternative dates. Those with bookings are advised to print, read and retain their insurance policies carefully.”

And he concludes: “Finally, we wanted to thank our clients and suppliers. We have been overwhelmed by the support of our loyal customers, some who have been booking with us for over 10 years, and as a small team of 30 passionate skiers and snowboarders we’ve really felt touched by their support during this period.”

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Posted in COVID-19, Destinations, News, Trends & Research