What can we expect from the 2010/11 ski season

This month,the main ski holiday booking season gets under way. What kind of ski season will we get, the key question troubling tour operators, ski accommodation owners and airport transfer providers. The past two seasons have been snow blessed but the underlying booking trends are not good. The last two seasons the UK ski travel market shrunk by 13% and 11% respectively. If that trend continues, 2010/11 will be the worst season this century, surely affecting big operators and small transfer providers alike.

Skiers will be still keen to ski, but will be less able to spend money on travel, hotels and equipment purchases. Where will they reduce spent? If recent trents are anything to go by, they will ski in local areas and lower level ski resorts rather than bigger and more distant resorts. In France’s record year, visits to the celebrated ski destinations of the Savoie fell, while skiing in the Vosges area and the Massif Central. British skiers can’t ski locally (some did so in Scotland) and the credit crunch helped reduce the number of people that can ski on credit cards. 2010/2011 probably won’t see less ski holiday makers but less spent.

Last year the headline-grabbing figure 40% ski holiday capacity reduction never materialised. The number of ski holidays available from the big tour operators fell by less than half that amount. As a result independent ski accommodation owners and transfer providers did not too bad last season. This season could see an upturn in demand. However, with both Christmas Day and New Year’s Day falling on Saturdays, disrupting the normal holiday pattern and posing fresh challenges to transfer and accommodation providers offering Saturday change-over. It’s never easy working in the ski travel industry.

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