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The season in the Pyrenees, other areas...

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
The ski season is bound to be 'talked up' by tourism professionals, but the unpredictability of the weather experienced in the Alps and elsewhere (rain to 3500m in January, for example) is hinted at in this summary of the Pyrenean winter .....

[Translation of AFP report]

The Pyrenean ski season: last year's record figures maintained...

A season equal to or a slight improvement on the record established in 2003, according to the Association of Pyrenean Tourist Offices.

"We were a little worried in January because of the stormy weather and periods of thaw that followed the good start in December, but the situation improved considerably in February and we benefited from excellent cover until the end of April", the Association's chairman André Trigano told the AFP.

"LIft pass sales should reach the record level of 79 million euros attained in 2002/2003, which represented an increase of 15% on the previous year", the Association's director, Gérard Boudon, added.

Precise occupancy figures are not known, but first indications show an increase of approximately 5%, according to the Association's spokesman.

"The season was bolstered in particular by weekend business during January, through to April, as well as by an increase over the season as a whole in the number of Spanish visitors", commented Mr. Trigano.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
In the Côte d'Azur, there has been a negative trend in tourism overall, generally blamed on the strength of the euro. However the ski resorts (such as Isola 2000) have had a good season, 500,000 lift passes sold in comparison to 480,000 last year.

The French are worried though. 10% down on visitor numbers across all regions of France last year, and each holidaymaker is spending considerably less....
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
PG, that's an interesting statistic - especially from the point of view of someone looking to make a move out there and run a business that relies to some degree on tourism. Do you have access to particular regions from an info point of view?

And are there indications as to why the numbers have dropped? And whether it's viewed as a blip or an underlying trend?
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You need to Login to know who's really who.
PG wrote:
In the Côte d'Azur, there has been a negative trend in tourism overall, generally blamed on the strength of the euro. However the ski resorts (such as Isola 2000) have had a good season, 500,000 lift passes sold in comparison to 480,000 last year.

The French are worried though. 10% down on visitor numbers across all regions of France last year, and each holidaymaker is spending considerably less....


You should have told me last week, I'd have bought two pairs of skis and a new jacket if I'd have known Very Happy
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Mark Hunter, If you're still considering Serre Che, this is the latest study on tourism in the PACA (Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur) area, for various periods during the 2003/2004 season:

Christmas 2003 : http://www.crt-paca.fr/pdf/barometrejanvier04.pdf
9 Feb - 6 March : http://www.crt-paca.fr/pdf/barometremars04.pdf

If you go to the site map page : http://www.crt-paca.fr/fre/GP/outils/plandusite.jsp?OUT=3

.... and scroll down to the ORT section (L'Observatoire Régional du Tourisme) there's a whole list of in-depth studies very relevant for someone thinking of starting up a business in the tourism sector....
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Thanks PG, I'll take a little longer than current time allows to have a good look through this - certainly put the old French to the test! We're getting quite serious about a move now and would quite like to have something by the end of the year if possible.

The Serre Che ski region is up for privatisation at the moment, and I would have expected the move to have a positive effect on the area as they replace some of the drags and update some quite creaky, slow chairs. The area also has a well developed summer tourism scene. Having spoken to a few people there, some are getting an 80% annual fill rate on their accommodation, which struck me as quite reasonable.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Mark Hunter, They really are excellent reports. Although the winter sports sector has held up well, figures have been dragged down over the year as a whole by the big drop in foreign visitors. In 2003 the number of nights booked in hotels (compared to 2002) saw fewer Americans (-32%), Japanese (-27.8%), Swedes (-26.1%), Dutch (-18.6%), British (-16.6%), etc etc. In fact the only increase was in the number of Russians!

If you need any explanations of terms in the study, let me know.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Here's a reminder of a link posted previously, "Key Figures for Mountain Tourism: France". Again it's in French, a huge study, pdf file, 54 pages.

http://www.sntf.org/visiteurs/pub_donneesEco/ChiffresCles.pdf
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PG, bearing in mind the events last year, one can perhaps understand the drop in US and possibly Japanese tourists, but that's a huge drop for the Swedes and the Dutch, bearing in mind the area gets more Dutch visitors than any other nationality.

I saw a programme recently where the Director of Tourism for Serre Che stated that there are some fairly major plans afoot to push non ski season activities, and to develope a tourist industry around activities that rely less heavily on skiing in the winter. The last point was in response to the recognition of the very real threat posed by the rising snow line to a resort where skiing to village level is quite integral to the local industry. Thanks again for the info.
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Bear in mind that this data (drop in Dutch visitors etc) refers to the PACA area as a whole, and over a full twelve months. The winter season stats are the only ones to buck this trend... think you probably need to print the whole lot off and go through it in detail, othewise snapshots like the above give a deceptive picture.
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Mark Hunter, Another site with a lot of relevant info (in French again I'm afraid) is:

http://www.metiersmontagne.org/dossiers/index.htm
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Cheers,PG. Still wading through the last one, but this is all good stuff and appreciated.
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