The ski industry calls track

The snow season has started with enthusiasm in Spain. Behind there is the bittersweet taste of a year ago when the weather played a trick. However, we managed t

The ski industry calls track

The snow season has started with enthusiasm in Spain. Behind there is the bittersweet taste of a year ago when the weather played a trick. However, we managed to 5,67 million visits, the second best result of the past nine years, according to the annual report of the Tourist Association of Ski and Mountain (Atudem).

The current situation is benevolent in a sector that you try to reach the levels previous to the economic crisis: in 2008-2009 exceeded the amount of “historical” of more than 6.5 million visitors. “The season has started very well for almost all of the stations are Spanish. We have had snow since November, something that is not usual,” says the president of Atudem, Jesus Ibáñez, who is also director of Cetursa-Sierra Nevada. Agrees with this diagnosis, the director general of Aramon, Antonio Gericó: “The prospects are good in a season that is long and in some of the centers with more than 130 days.”

promotional Rate ski passes and offers free parking combined with the good data of centimeters of snow accumulated, visibility and miles open. The stations take weeks to operate. The early opening of the Formigal-Panticosa (16 November), was followed by other such as the Sierra Nevada, Candanchú, Cerler, Alto Campoo and Baqueira-Beret. This last closed the month of November with almost all of its facilities and services up and welcomed around 50,000 skiers in their tracks during the bridge of December. “If we have a little bit of luck we will be able to meet the objective”, expects the commercial director of Baqueira-Beret, Xavi Ubeira.

The last season was closed with a turnover of 122,1 million euros and the turnover is approximated to that of the previous year. In addition, the average revenue per visitor got the highest figure of the last decade, hovering around 22,79 eur per day. “It grows in number of tracks, km, facilities, and public. The best measure of that sector doing well is that we've gone from 27 million euros of investments in season 2018-2019, to 40 million by the 2019-2020” says Ibáñez.

Investments

operators are striving to attract more visitors through investment cross-cutting in that they touch all the sticks: from the repair of lifts, the acquisition of guns or the design of new tracks, improvement of facilities and the implementation of catering services and hotels. In Aramon want their stations to offer “something more than skiing,” so that customers can enjoy “a holiday complete and different”.

The challenge seems to be acceptable in a sector which, according to Ibanez, moves a lot of money and gives employability. In the previous exercise you created more than 3,000 direct jobs, making the resorts a resource to avoid the depopulation in areas of the Valle d'aran, in the environment penibético or cordillera cantabria. “Now that it speaks to both the Spain emptied, you must remember that the main industry that secures to the people in rural areas is the snow”. According to Atudem, in the previous campaign 78.5% of the contracts were temporary vs. 21.5%, which were fixed.

Ubeira takes a couple of months promoting Baqueria-Beret in Europe and always faces the same scenario: to put on record that Spain is a country of snow. By proximity, skiers French and Portuguese are the most assiduous to some stations where in the past few years have seen a proliferation of the british. “We don't know and are responding well,” he says. The data of the Sierra Nevada support this trend of the Uk market, which accounted for 62% of international visitors in the last season.

tour operators

The collaboration with tour operators is key in the stations of Aramon to attract the foreign customer. “The strategy passes by the bundling and the use of the airport of Zaragoza as the base of the operators. The new flights to Portugal, for example, help to create these packages with ski pass, hotel and flight,” explains Gericó. And there is a growing interest from users of Poland, Belgium and even the scandinavian countries, Spain wins in number of skiers while decreasing in other countries such as Switzerland. Ubeira not overlooked that the country is an alternative “cheap” in comparison with other destinations.

“The leader in growth in the last year is Italy and we are the next,” says Ibanez. There are places with more snow and tradition as is the case of Austria —“who is the king”—, but from Atudem are shown to be inclined to unmount the image of the national tourism that follows the sun and the beach. “With all the recognition of that, we are also a country of snow”.

The sector continues to mobilise to claim their site and shed the image of sport elitist. “We do a lot of efforts to boost months like January or march and April. Are weeks in which the accommodation and the ski pass are very affordable,” explains Ubeira. The offerings are extensive to encourage a holiday that can not compete with those of August, although different communities have implemented a one-week break in schools at the end of February. The idea is to take advantage of this time to escape to the mountain. This option is linked to the initiative of Atudem that aims to promote skiing as a school sport. Taking into account that 28% of the visitors are minors, according to data from the association, the future proves that “not everything is football and basketball.”

Entertainment for all

“Spain is the mountains and it is ski. There are more and more fans,” says the director of Aramon, which manages the resorts of Formigal-Panticosa and Cerler in the Pyrenees, and Javalambre and Valdelinares in Teruel. Antonio Gericó bet that their “visitors have different moments of entertainment throughout their day of skiing,” and implement a trade policy that reaches the greatest number of segments possible.

the profile of The skier in Spain is male, between 35 and 45 years, and urbanite. However, the annual report of Atudem highlights the ascent of the users are not skiers, they have played in the last season for 6.8% of the visits. With the better data from users who don't put on the skis, “diversification is always good”, pointing to Jesus Ibáñez, president of that association. “A person who is not a skier is about to spend a fun day because we what we sell is leisure”. The challenge is to convince users to go up to the mountain and, in addition, to attract the european emerging markets. The main operators to agree on the good way of investment. Irregularity of the climate puts out the pulse with technology and investment, but from the industry also calls for a withvergence with the administrations for Spain to pull out chest of “the product that we have here is good.”

Updated Date: 30 December 2019, 11:00

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