Investing in Summer; Austrian Resorts focus on the Green
In St. Corona am Wechsel, Austria, resort owners are investing in summer activities after seeing the number of warm weather visitors doubling in recent years. Summer tourists in 2020 provided the ski areas in low lying Austrian ski towns a lucrative way to mitigate the losses incurred by the pandemic closures and years of unpredictable weather.
Ski resorts owners in Europe have been facing shorter and warmer winters since 2015, and the decision to invest in summer attractions most likely spared the smaller ski small towns in Austria from disaster when the pandemic struck and months of operation were lost.
As quoted in The Washington Post, Matthias Horx,a German researcher, reflected on the results of summer investment during 2020. “The resorts that diversified, that have been offering hiking, culture, cycling, wellness, they’ve been doing much, much better.”
Summer investments include building bike parks and installing family attractions. The number of summer lift tickets sold in Schladming alone grew from 9,000 in 2018 to 45,000 in 2020, with additional growth expected now that over 8 kilometers of new trails are currently under construction.
The takeaway from this is that ski areas will need to continue to diversify their summer offer and re-brand as resorts that offer a wider range of experiences throughout the year. To tap summer revenues, resorts will be expected to create high-quality family experiences and exciting terrain for mountain bikers of all skill levels, as well as offering for hikers, nature enthusiasts, and those looking to escape the heat of the cities.
It will be exciting to see how these transformations continue and expand over the next decade, and how our valued mountain communities will incorporate technology to engage with visitors after the long and difficult COVID is finally over.