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An exceptionally late Easter and challenging snow conditions across much of the northern Alps, resulted in a decline in the ski market of 3.6% last winter (from just under 900,000 in 2012/13 to 867,700 in 2013/14) the Crystal Ski Industry Report 2014 finds.
Looking forward to the coming season, Crystal Ski Holidays finds strong evidence of a ski recovery with the Winter Olympics significantly raising the profile of snow sports in the UK. Indoor ski centres continue to report increased visitor numbers suggesting an uplift in interest for snowsports which will be further boosted by a recovering economy and an earlier Easter break.
The independent travel sector showed the biggest fall (by 5.8% to 253,400 skiers, down from 269,000) with some low cost carriers reducing their flight capacity to ski destinations and curtailing their programmes at the end of the season. The tour operator sector also saw total volumes decrease slightly (by 2.8% to 500,500 skiers) as fewer multiple trips were taken during the mild temperatures of January and March as well as the late Easter holiday period.
The schools market was more resilient showing a small decline of 1.6% to 113,800 young skiers taking to the slopes.
France continues to be the most popular country despite seeing a decline of 1.3%, taking a 33.5% share of holidaymakers last season. Switzerland had a slight resurgence with a 1% increase takeing share of the market to 6.5%.
Andorra, Italy and Scandinavia each increased market share by 0.2% whereas Austria, Bulgaria and USA/Canada lost 0.2% market share each. The small countries sector stayed stable at 2% market share.
Crystal Ski Holidays managing director Tamsin Todd said: “While winter 13/14 presented challenges for the ski industry, we are optimistic about the outlook. Digital and mobile advances are helping to make customer experiences better than ever, and Britain’s successes in the Olympics and Paralympics have renewed interest in snow sports among customers looking for fun and active holidays that they can enjoy with family and friends.”
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The ski and snowboard overview amalgamates information from tour operators’ own statistics, published CAA statistics, tourist office data and lift pass offices feedback.