Ski vacation professionals respond to the news that Italy has lost its travel corridor. The Government’s decision to remove the UK travel corridor with Italy moves the ski season in Europe one step closer to the edge of a cliff.
Italy was the last remaining Alpine nation on the “protected list” of the Government, but as its cases now reach 64 per 100,000 (over a cumulative average of seven days), on their return from Sunday at 4 am, Britons visiting the country will face 14 days of self-isolation, along with travellers from France, Austria, and Switzerland, who have already revoked their corridors.
Experts characterized Grant Shapps’ new announcement as a “massive blow” to the ski industry, which is less than eight weeks to go before resorts in Europe open for the winter. According to Richard Sinclair, Managing Director of Ski Travel Agency SNO, “France and Austria are on the quarantine list, the Government has kiboshed 90% of the UK ski market by excluding Italy.”
It has contributed to questions about the future of Italy’s resorts, which were the first in the world to close at the beginning of March pandemic. “This is a massive blow. Many of these resorts are still fragile economies, so this has to be a worry for their future,” said Oxford Ski Company founder Rupert Longsdon. “There will be a demonstrable effect on the ski season in Italy if these restrictions remain in place,” he added.
Sitting on the border with France and part of the Aosta Valley region, Courmayeur is one such resort that now faces winter without British visitors, despite having placed enormous efforts into reopening healthy skiing plans. It’s a disappointment to hear that Italy has been excluded from the UK’s list of air bridge agreements.
Courmayeur receives many bookings from British visitors every year as a high-end ski resort, hopefully, these quarantine restrictions will not be in effect for too long. As the ski season was cut so short this year, we had a lot of time to plan for this December’s reopening of our slopes and have already ironed out the various hygiene and safety measures that will be in effect.
In the Italian resort of Champoluc, also in the Aosta Valley, where cases have remained low, Roger Walker runs specialist ski operator Ski2. “It will be another tough winter,” he said. His company operated chalets in the resort and was struck at the end of last winter when Italy became the epicenter of the virus in Europe, forcing him to cancel all bookings and customers to reimburse.
Do skiers & snowboarders want to ski this winter?
Yes, they do, and recent surveys have shown that the effect of the pandemic is resilient for skiers and snowboarders. The Great Britain Ski Club reported that 86% of people who replied to its new survey said they would go skiing this winter if they can. At the same time, MTN found that three-quarters of skiers are willing to quarantine to go on a ski holiday on their return home.
After last year’s reduced season, ski companies will have to dig deep to find a way to keep their businesses running when things start up again. Skiers are desperate to return to the slopes, most of which will be completely open from December. For now, all skiers and snowboarders can do is keep watching the latest news updates. For 86% of them, are willing to go skiing and quarantine afterward. As always take to the slopes and enjoy your ski holiday this year, but do be careful and adhere to the Covid restrictions of distance and wearing of masks.