‘Half of people’ considering new ski destination in wake of pandemic

Almost half (44%) of people are considering a new destination for their winter sports holiday in light of Covid-19, including destinations closer to home, new research reveals.

One in ten (16%) would consider a Scottish winter break compared to last year, when just 7% said they would consider visiting Scotland to ski or snowboard.

Winter sports holidays in Scotland are most popular for those aged 60 or over, perhaps in part due to the higher anxiety about foreign travel in older age groups more at risk from Covid-19.

Aspen in the US was the number one resort (18%) that British skiers have or would like to book for their winter sports holiday, overtaking Les Arcs in the French Alps which was at the top of the table in 2020, according to the ninth annual Club Med ski report.

However, the most popular resorts in the Alps, including Saint Moritz (16%), Les Deux Alpes (10%), and Alpe d’Huez (10%) are likely to be the strongest destinations in reality given the late lifting of travel restrictions to the US.

Canada is the top long-haul destination for a winter sports holiday at 14%, according the poll of 2,000 people.

For those who have been on a winter sports holiday in the past four years, more than half (58%) had a trip cancelled due to the pandemic. From this, three quarters chose to postpone their holiday to the following season, with 45% of Club Med customers doing this from the 2020-21 season.

Of those polled, 21% received a refund credit note and a further 23% got a full refund.

“Offering a refundable stay, should a country’s status change to ‘red’ is crucial for Brits booking a holiday with 57% saying it was the single most important factor when choosing their travel provider,” the report said.

The research also found that almost half of people are prepared to leave it a month in advance (46%) to book a winter sports holiday, with one in five (20%) saying they will leave booking as late as just two weeks before departure.

This contrasts to 2019 when only 5% of people booked their winter sports holiday less than three months in advance.

The global pandemic has led people to change their holiday preferences, with 62% of those questioned saying that this year will be their first ski or snowboarding holiday versus only 40% in 2020.

Club Med UK and northern Europe managing director Estelle Giraudeau said: “The last two ski seasons have been plagued by disruption and we understand Brits are more eager than ever to hit the slopes.

“While short-haul destinations continue to be favourites, it’s promising to see that there is that appetite for destinations that are further afield, particularly with the opening of our first ever Canadian resort, Quebec Charlevoix, where bookings continue to be strong for its first ever season with the resort at over 80% capacity for its opening week.”

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