Anecdotal evidence from UK ski tour operators is that this season has at last seen a halt in the decline in ski holidays sold.
According to Crystal Holidays, the size of the UK market decreased by 25% from 1.2m holiday makers in 2007/08 to 0.9m in 2010/11. The Ski Club of Britain claimed a smaller but still significant fall from 1.3m to 1.0m.
Market in modest recovery
It does seem that the nadir has been reached and the market is now in a modest recovery. Based on feedback from operators, Skipedia believes the two main studies quote above will show a small increase in market size of 2-3% for the 2011/12 season.
We should be mindful that this growth was principally driven by excellent early snow conditions, and not an economic recovery, which is evidently still to arrive.
‘Ski Holiday’ searches increase
This graph below created by Google Insights For Search backs up a modest recovery. It shows how the number of searches for ‘ski holidays’ in the UK has decreased steadily since 2007/08, but (although you have to look closely to see it) has increased slightly for the first time in four years.
Searches for ‘ski holidays’ were up for the first time in four years
Austria gains on France
Interestingly, as we have already noted on Skipedia, Austria has gained significant market share from France in recent years. A comparison of searches for ski holidays in each country shows how Google users have changed their behaviour over this period of time.
Users have increasingly searched for ‘ski holidays austria’ over ‘ski holidays france’
By Iain Martin