Ski resorts in Haute-Savoie: reservations up sharply
After a previous season marked by the closure of the ski lifts, this year the tourists are numerous to want to spend vacations in the resorts of Haute-Savoie.
Downhill skiing is making a comeback
On November 24, 2020, the government had announced the closure of ski lifts for the 2020/2021 season. The closure of bars and restaurants had not encouraged the usual winter sports clientele to book their vacations. The decline in the occupation of beds in the resorts had reached 70%. Nevertheless, the practice of cross-country skiing and snowshoeing had known a nice craze to compensate for the impossibility of practicing alpine skiing apart from ski touring.
Prime Minister Jean Castex, visiting Haute-Savoie last week, made announcements that reassured mountain tourism professionals in Haute-Savoie. It has specified the health measures that will be implemented in the winter sports resorts. Wearing a mask will be mandatory in the lines of the ski lifts, in the gondolas and in the places where the population mixes.
The health pass will not be required to use the ski lifts unless the incidence rate exceeds 200 cases per 100 000 inhabitants.
This good news should make it easier for resorts to recruit seasonal workers. The skiers who are not yet vaccinated have also understood that they could take advantage of snow sports this winter.
A strong recovery in resort bookings
The weather has been good since heavy snowfalls at the beginning of November have made it possible to consider the early opening of several ski areas in the Alps. Since the end of October, Tignes and Les Deux Alpes have opened their slopes to the public. The resort of La Plagne has seen a significant rebound in bookings.
French ski schools are also seeing a strong upturn in bookings for the Christmas vacations.
Medium altitude resorts, such as La Clusaz and Le Grand Bornand have retained the charm of traditional Haute-Savoie villages. They have also developed many activities outside the practice of skiing as the festival for children “Au bonheur des mômes” and an aquatic center. These efforts to diversify are conclusive, since these resorts have recovered the situation before the health crisis by attracting families.
In the same vein, the small resort of Les Saisies has seen a 10% increase in the number of reservations for its accommodation. The hotels in the resorts are also taking advantage of the public’s enthusiasm for spending vacations in the mountains.
Individual accommodation is the most popular choice
In terms of accommodation, the health crisis has changed the habits of holidaymakers. Previously, collective accommodations were mostly retained in the resorts. Even if they still constitute the majority of the reservations, we notice that the clientele turns more and more to individual accommodations such as lodging, renting of private accommodation.
The habitat in the resorts of Haute-Savoie is still largely made up of traditional chalets which are for the most part secondary residences that are not occupied year round by their owners. Renting a chalet allows skiers to enjoy their stay away from the hustle and bustle of hotels and vacation homes. In terms of budget, the price of this type of rental is not based on the number of occupants, but on the number of nights. Thus, for large families or groups of friends, it is often more advantageous.
On the level of the decoration, the charm of a wooden mountain chalet also makes the difference with the big structures.
In terms of facilities, the cottages as well as the chalets have nothing to envy to the traditional accommodations. A fully equipped kitchen allows you to prepare your meal at a lower cost than the restaurants of the resorts which are often quite expensive. Most of them are equipped with a balcony to enjoy a beautiful panorama on the Aravis mountain range or on the Bauges massif.
Some are even equipped with jacuzzi or swimming pool for the most luxurious. Your host will also be able to give you good advice to take advantage of the many activities and the most beautiful snowshoeing trips. It is this proximity with nature and a more responsible tourism which justifies the development of the individual accommodation this season.
Questioning about the foreign clientele
The health crisis has had a major impact on air travel. And many foreign tourists do not take the plane anymore for their vacations. The obligatory documents to travel are often different from one country to another.
The big ski areas like Flaine, Val d’Isere and Chamonix are the most dependent on this foreign clientele with high purchasing power.
The Dutch and Belgians returned for the February 2022 vacations with booking levels comparable to 2019. However, long-haul flights have not resumed and Russians and Americans are absent. The British clientele which represents an important part of the activity is starting to book again even if the sanitary rules concerning the minors are different with those of the European Union.
For the Scandinavian clientele, the issue of global warming translates into “a shame to take the plane’and therefore to come and ski in France.
However, France has the largest and most beautiful ski area in Europe with hundreds of kilometers of slopes and multiple activities to attract a wide range of customers.