Airport transfers to Alpine ski resorts will run out on busy dates this winter, a specialist has warned amid a surge in holiday bookings.
A change in regulations has impacted how non-Swiss companies can operate at Geneva airport – a major hub for accessing major mountain resorts – and is having a major impact on many ski transfer businesses.
The rule changes have imposed a 90-day limit for companies able to operate in Geneva, which is less than a ski season.
Restrictions have also been introduced on issuing work permits for the region of Geneva to staff on seasonal contracts which are prevalent in the ski-industry.
This situation has caused well-established French transfer businesses to close, reduce capacity or hike their rates.
The impact on skiers is less choice, reduced availability and higher prices, warned ski transfer firm Ski-Lifts.com.
“With demand flooding back we are already seeing key transfer dates through the season already filling up, so a pinch point is approaching,” the company said.
The changes could compound many accommodation providers already reporting to be close to being fully booked for peak dates.
This is partly due to a combination of bookings being rolled over from previous years, and less capacity in the market due to the challenge of recruiting enough staff post-Brexit and Covid restrictions.
Geneva airport is Europe’s busiest hub for ski transfers, accessing the most popular resorts in France and Switzerland but its faces a “real shortage” of transfers to many of the most popular destinations. This will make getting to resort much more difficult or expensive for late bookers.
Ski-Lifts is making efforts to adapt including the introduction of an economy shuttle transfer service to Avoriaz, Morzine and Les Gets from Geneva airport to help cater for the high volume of travellers at peak times.
Managing director Richard Smith said: “This is not a normal year and transfers will run out on key dates.
“If possible, persuade customers to be flexible and avoid Saturday travel in peak periods, as with flights, transfer costs are generally lower mid-week or on Sundays.
“Potentially consider alternative airports such as Chambery, Lyon or Grenoble, where there are fewer challenges to availability. And importantly, encourage customers to book their transfers early to avoid inevitable increases in prices due to less availability of transfers the closer they get to travel.”