The managers of ski resorts “surprised and disappointed” not to reopen for the Christmas holidays

Emmanuel Macron announced that the stations would not reopen for the end of the year holidays. Professionals in the sector fear an economic disaster and are already looking to spring.

«It seems to me impossible to envisage an opening of the ski resorts for the end of year celebrations.“Emmanuel Macron’s little phrase,, had the effect of a bomb in the town halls and tourist offices of the various winter sports resorts of the country. Surprised for the most part, professionals in the sector are already looking to spring to try to save the season.

«We are extremely surprised, it is a scenario that we had certainly considered but which seemed to be moving away in recent days, explains Frédéric Porte, Managing Director of Tignes Développement. We expected to have details of the opening conditions, but not a final closure.“In Tignes (Savoie) however, this start of the season represents 13 to 20% of the winter figure, and the rest of the year could still save the furniture. “We have a fairly long season in Tignes, especially thanks to the glacier which allows us to extend activities until spring, continues Frédéric Porte. We will concentrate our efforts on making up for lost time at that time. ”

Optimism

In the area of ​​Saint-Gervais (Haute-Savoie), where the two-week Christmas vacation accounts for 17% of total overnight stays in the winter season, however, this is not the time for discouragement. “We are always optimistic in the mountains, we are determined, says Didier Josephe, director of Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc Tourisme. There is certainly a certain disappointment, but when we say that winter sports resorts will not be able to reopen, this is not quite true: it is the practice of skiing that will not be allowed! In Saint-Gervais, we have a large range of other activities, such as hiking, thermal baths, cultural activities in the villages, etc. 50% of people come to Saint-Gervais in winter and don’t ski!»

The domain of Saint-Gervais had in fact long started its conversion to a “4 seasons” model which is no longer dependent only on the winter period. This episode will be an opportunity to strengthen this positioning. “This summer we had thousands of vacationers who had never been to the mountains and who discovered other activities, concludes Didier Josephe. More than ever, we are in a strategy of diversifying our tourism offer. ”

Worst case scenario

On the Courchevel side, in Savoie, the station manager Gilles Delaruelle admits that he is not “as astonished as when the first confinement was closed which had taken everyone by surprise“. Before Emmanuel Macron’s speech on Tuesday, Gilles Delaruelle had established three scenarios for his winter season: that of a “normal” reopening of the resort in mid-December, that of an opening of the ski resort. ski without restaurants or bars which would then have launched into take-away sales, and that of a closure for the end-of-year celebrations. “So our worst scenario was chosen, but at least we had considered it… Despite everything, this will have a big economic impact on the station, because the level of spending is very important during the end of the season. year

Whatever happens, all the players in the sector will continue their discussions with the government to reopen as soon as possible. “We will make our voices heard to reopen, continues Frédéric Porte. We will be impatiently awaiting the details which should arrive in the coming days. ” And Didier Josephe to hope, now, “reopening in mid-January”So as not to waste too much time.

SEE ALSO – “It seems impossible to open the winter sports resorts for the holidays”, regrets Macron