The Tour de France is known for its always unusual route and media influence, but also for its difficult stages that cross many mountain areas (seven stages in total this year). This is a great opportunity for the ski resorts in the summer as they host this great event and get a lot of attention, shown to millions of national and international spectators.
The touristic and economic impact of the Tour de France is particularly notable for the towns that host the start or arrival of a stage. The ski resort of Val Thorens will be at the center of attention this year, since it will be where the twentieth stage ends and almost the end of the Tour de France 2019. But other French ski resorts will also host a stage of the Tour, such as Grand Tourmalet (the only arrival at high altitude in the Pyrenees), Valloire or Tignes (Alps).
The route, which began this year in Brussels, is currently in its eleventh stage, between Albi and Toulouse. Having already crossed the Massif des Vosges and the Massif Central, it heads towards the Pyrenees mountain range through two stages and several high mountain passes. After crossing the southern coast of France, the peloton will arrive in the Alps next week.
The route crosses many ski resorts and mythical places of the French mountain this year: Bourg-Saint-Maurice (Les Arcs), Cervières, Grand Tourmalet, Peyragudes, Galibier-Thabor, Valloire, Tignes, Arêches-Beaufort, La Plagne, Les 3 Vallées, Les Menuires, Val Thorens…
How is the decision of which ski resorts will host a stage made?
In the first place, it must be recognized that it’s not easy to be selected as a scenic town or village of the Tour, especially as a place of beginning or end of stage. In a competition between more than 300 candidates, each location and each resort must provide a dossier including its advantages that stand out (topography, culture, gastronomy, architecture and monuments…). The cities through which the route passes are also chosen for their beauty, since the Tour is also known for its always impressive landscapes. The selected locations must pay an amount to the competition organization and prepare logistically to receive the race guaranteeing safety.
The price of participation for a ski resort is quite high, but it’s compensated by the large influx of tourists who are attracted by the spectacle of the Tour de France, an international competition that has millions of spectators and that is broadcast in many kinds of media. This influx of tourists is reflected several days before the passage of the Tour de France, when the spectators invade the edges of the road to benefit from the best location and the atmosphere that precedes the Tour. On the big day, hotels, restaurants and shops of the area are in full swing, but they will also continue to be in the medium term thanks to the promotion of the destination on a global scale. Several studies agree that the economic repercussions of participating in a stage of the Tour can be 10 times greater than the investment of the participating locality.