French ski resorts find upside to downturn
French families dropping plans for expensive vacations in the sun are opting for cheaper holidays in hotels and chalets in the French Alps.PARIS – Buoyed by major snowfalls and French families seeking to spend their euros closer to home, France's ski resorts are reporting a boom in business.
Hotels and chalets in the French Alps, the Pyrenees and other mountain resorts were almost fully booked over the holiday season, according to the Protourisme market analysis group.
"We are having an excellent start to the season," said Didier Arino, manager of Protourisme.
"Since the end of November, there has been a double-digit jump in the number of bookings."
Resorts were 75 percent full over Christmas and between 85 and 90 percent booked over the New Year holidays, with smaller facilities on lower slopes getting a major boost after last year's poor skiing conditions.
Arino said ski resorts are drawing many French families who have dropped plans for more expensive vacations in the sun.
"The economic crisis is helping French vacation spots. The French are not going abroad as much," said Arino.
There are fewer Americans on the ski slopes this year but bookings from Spain, Britain and Belgium are strong while Russians "who generally spend a fortune" on ski holidays are still coming, he added.
Reservations over the February school break have soared compared to last year in lower-lying ski resorts and are also up in the bigger Alpine hotels and chalets.
[AFP / Expatica]