Is the recession killing the ski industry?

3 September 2009

The future of the ski industry is becoming less and less certain while we continue to move further into the recession. With a big question mark over how tour operators will fare next winter, Erna Low has conducted several studies into why its clients have changed their holiday habits.

The International Passenger Survey predicts that 2009 is likely to see the biggest negative growth for a considerable time and only the second fall in overseas holidays in over a decade (after 2008). However, from the recent studies conducted, Erna Low is confident that skiers will still find a way to keep skiing for years to come.

Notable changes in habit include: choosing less expensive departure dates; opting for self catering packages rather than a catered chalet holiday; a preference to self drive; heading for less expensive resorts with good quality accommodation.

“The current economic climate did change our plans and we took a self catering rather than hotel option - surprisingly we did find that self drive was very convenient, especially with a family. It was also a last minute decision encouraged by great snow conditions which meant we felt that the deals available were not too expensive,” says one happy client who almost decided against taking a ski holiday last season.

Looking at the winter season ahead, Joanna Yellowlees-Bound, CEO of Erna Low states: “Skiers have enjoyed excellent prices this season and have scooped up some considerable bargains but next year is going to be different, and skiers need to be aware of this. Last year the major tour operators and chalet companies did not see the crunch coming, and were badly burnt. They took large bed guarantees and they had to sell, come what may. The only way to do this was to slash their prices.

“Next season will be very different - greater caution amongst operators and far fewer bed guarantees will result in reduced capacity all round. But this isn't death to the next ski season - it's a simple case of good housekeeping to ensure survival.”

Erna Low has many great tips to help skiers, their friends and families to ski this winter – without breaking the bank! Full results and money saving tips for savvy skiers can be found in the Credit Crunch Report at

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