Will Scotland turn into the brand new ski vacation spot? | World information
The Scottish mountains may be an unlikely beneficiary of the Covid-19 pandemic. With British skiers nervous about taking a package vacation with a tour operator in one of Europe’s top travel destinations, travel specialists are predicting the rise of DIY ski touring, which could be good news for the Cairngorms.
“There is clearly still tremendous uncertainty about what will happen in the winter season,” said Rob Stewart, founder of Ski Press PR, which represents clients in the ski industry. “The general view is that December – and I speak for British skiers – will be a write-off in terms of skiing. This is mainly due to uncertainties about when the resorts will really open and, of course, the advice from the quarantine and the Foreign Office against any travel that is not strictly necessary. “
Stewart said many tour operators have pulled out of the market for December while others have chosen to “pretty much” mothball the whole season. “Everyone who leaves in December has to do a DIY version.” This could mean that more people would rather go to the French Alps than fly. A recent survey found that 27% of skiers intended to travel to Europe via Eurotunnel this winter, compared to the normal 7%.
Scottish ski resorts graphic
Another alternative is to go to the north of the UK. “There is talk of skiers interested in going to Scotland,” said Stewart. “But while I love Scotland and ski there, we have to be honest about what a ski vacation in Scotland is. And the Alps are not, not even nearby, not at all comparable. It’s a harsh environment, the weather is unpredictable and the snow even more so. “
Angus Maciver, General Manager of the UK Ski Club, also believes more people will travel to Scotland. The SCGB is now offering adventure snow vacations in Scottish resorts. “We believe there will be more ski touring in Scotland and if people are willing to wait for the conditions to be right they could have a great experience in Scotland,” he said. “We also think this is a great opportunity to ski on man-made and indoor slopes in the UK.”
Maciver said he believed there would still be some kind of season in the Alps, but people would notice a difference. “Some resorts will limit the capacity for mountain elevators, all have limited seating in restaurants which can make things difficult in busy times, and there will be a greatly reduced après-ski scene.” The arrival of a vaccine could have an impact towards the end of the season, Maciver said. But that prospect got a lot of people playing a waiting game, and three-quarters of Britons say they won’t book a ski vacation until four weeks before they travel.
If British winter sports fans fail to reach major European ski resorts this season, it could have a serious negative impact on the industry, Maciver said.
“There will be many organizations that may not survive a season with no income, especially given the refunds or coupons that were paid out last season,” he added.
“It will be difficult for all of us in the UK ski industry as we staff continued to vacation when the travel corridors opened and we still have rent and prices to pay – and could not have vacation income if the current rules were kept in place and place. “