Commentary: Ski resorts will never again reach pre-COVID visitor levels

An estate agent in the resort of Morzine explained how many chalet businesses had been struggling to attract both visitors and workers.

She said “more than a third” of the resort’s chalets are expected to be empty for the whole of the current season. She added: “I don’t understand how the authorities expect businesses to survive.”

A chalet manager in the neighbouring resort of Les Gets also described how rival companies in the region had decided to sell their chalets or cease to be “snow rentals” due to the uncertainty that businesses believe will continue to dominate next winter.

A SLIPPERY SLOPE

Indeed, many residents, resort staff and business owners are worried about an annual trend of new COVID variants. They believe this could lead to a repeat of the issues this season, in which individual countries set different rules and restrictions on travel.

As one owner explained: “These rules for different countries and new annual variants will ruin the winter sport industry. The ministers in each country clearly don’t communicate with each other – so they don’t understand what we are going through.”

French ski resorts, many of which rely heavily on British tourists, lost over 50 per cent of their visitors in the winter of 2020-2021.

Meanwhile, over the same period, domestic tourism in Swiss ski resorts increased by nearly 30 per cent and restaurants were able to continue with outdoor dining.

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