RESERVATIONS IN SKI RESORTS CLOSE TO THEIR 2019 LEVEL
Since the announcement of the health protocol, the forecast occupancy rate for ski resorts stands at 43%, down 2.5 points compared to winter 2019-2020.
The season is officially launched. After a dark year, Val Thorens, Chamonix and Montgenèvre opened their snowy slopes this weekend. The other resorts will follow with a gradual opening of the ski lifts over the months of November and December. It remains to be seen whether skiers will be there as the epidemic situation has been deteriorating for several days.
For now, mountain professionals say they are extremely confident. Since Jean Castex’s announcements two weeks ago, reservations have soared: “In the reservation figures, there was a blockage of our customers who were uncertain of what was going to happen. Today , the rules are precise and clear and the reservations continue to flow in. (…) We are going to have an exceptional season”, rejoiced Jean-Luc Boch, president of France Montagnes during a press conference organized Friday, November 19.
“We have a clear framework: at the ski lifts, we will put on the mask and if the situation deteriorates (incidence rate higher than 200 per 100,000 inhabitants at the national level, nldr), we will remain open thanks to the implementation of the pass health”, added Alexandre Maulin, president of the Ski areas of France.
Occupancy rate close to 2019 levels
Before the announcement of the health protocol, the number of overnight stays recorded in the resorts was 12% lower compared to the same period in 2019. But since the Prime Minister’s clarifications, the delay is tending to decrease, the number of overnight stays being now less than 6% below its levels of two years ago.
According to the National Mountain Stations Observatory, the forecast occupancy rate for the entire season stands at 43%, compared to 45.5% for the same period for the 2019-2020 season, i.e. a difference of only 2.5 points.
Current reservations are in a very positive dynamic so we are quite confident for the continuation of winter reservationsPatrick Prévost, president of the Press Commission of France Montagnes
This slight delay in winter 2019-2020 can be explained above all by the health constraints which make it more difficult for foreign customers to travel. The British and customers from Eastern countries are particularly missing, unlike the Belgians and Dutch whose reservations remain strong, according to the professionals.
“We refuse people”
In terms of accommodation, the situation is quite disparate. Tourist residences show an occupancy rate three points behind the 2019-2020 season, at 45%) while real estate agencies and hotels are respectively ahead by 1.5 and 3 points. A rebound confirmed by the president of Club Med, Henri Giscard d’Estaing: “The reservations arrived late, but they are there. We are at levels that are close to those of 2019”, he explained on BFM Business.
With occupancy rates of 45 and 35%, the Northern and Southern Alps are 3 points below their 2019 level, unlike the Pyrenean massif, which is slightly ahead (+ 1 point). But the situation is again different from one station to another. In Risoul (Hautes-Alpes), “we are in a very strong dynamic of reservations since we are ahead of almost 28% compared to winter 2019. Today, the structure of reservations is good at the start of the season but also dynamic over all the other periods, (…) which almost guarantees us a good season whatever happens”, observes on BFM DICI Christian André, director of the tourist office of the station.
In Montgenèvre too, “reservations are looking good”. The mayor of the town, Guy Hermitte, affirms that “the schedules are complete”. “We even refuse people. It’s a little the case every year but this year even more because if we were already refusing people during holiday periods, this time, we also refuse people during non-holiday periods”, added the chosen one. Same optimism in the Ubaye valley: “As soon as we had the green light for the reopening of the stations, the reservations flew away. We are already almost full for this end of the year” and the prospects for the heart winter are “very good”, welcomes Dragy Vojvodanovic, general manager of Ubaye Tourisme.