The 16th edition of the International Report on Snow and Mountain Tourism was presented today by Swiss expert Laurent Vanat at the inaugural conference of Mountain Planet, the international trade fair dedicated to mountain development, held in Grenoble. The document, which has attracted the interest of all the industry’s professionals, analyses in detail the data for the 2022/23 ski season on a global scale.

THE REPORT ILLUSTRATES THE ROBUSTNESS OF THE SKI INDUSTRY, WITH VISITOR NUMBERS IN LINE WITH THE AVERAGE FOR THE LAST TWENTY YEARS.

However, China remains the exception, where the industry continues to feel the after-effects of COVID-19. With the exception of this market, the effects of the pandemic seem to be over in the other regions, with a massive return of skiers to the slopes. The 2022/23 winter season recorded more than 370 million skier-days internationally, confirming a trend towards operational normality in this sector.

International Snow and Mountain Tourism Report 2024: 370 million ski days

The 2024 International Snow and Mountain Tourism Report and the 2022/23 Global Winter Season Review highlight the extent and diversity of ski destinations around the world. At present, 68 countries offer open-air ski areas that are equipped and regularly covered in snow, with a total of around 2,000 ski resorts.

While the most popular ski destinations account for a large proportion of skier-days, there are also many smaller resorts, both long-established and in the development phase. Among the most notable emerging markets are Eastern Europe and China.

Presentation by Laurent Vanat of the 2024 International Report on Snow and Mountain Tourism

Other smaller players, such as Cyprus, Greece, India, Iran, Israel, Lebanon, Lesotho, Morocco, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa and Turkey, enrich the global ski landscape. This detailed report explores these dynamics, offering a global perspective on the current state and potential evolution of snow and mountain tourism.

Skiing, the economic engine of many regions

Skiing continues to play a vital role in the economies of many mountain regions around the world. These destinations still actively welcome visitors during the winter season, making a significant contribution to their local economies. Mindful of the climate challenges, the winter sports industry is striving to adopt a sustainable four-season approach where appropriate, although the transition can be difficult.

The resilience of the ski sector was clearly demonstrated in the 2022/23 season by several key performance indicators:

  • Record visitor numbers in several mature markets;
  • Increased visitor numbers due to the development of season passes in various countries;
  • Innovation in ticketing systems, including the introduction of dynamic pricing and alternative models such as pay-per-use;
  • An evolution in customer service, from simply selling lift tickets to offering enriched mountain experiences;
  • Continued investment to strengthen ski-related activities and diversify offerings;
  • A strengthening of year-round activities, thereby increasing the economic viability of lift operators.

“The data from the 16th edition of the International Report on Snow and Mountain Tourism refutes the pessimistic views of many media and institutions on the outlook for the development of the ski market. Although climate change, among other things, is causing great uncertainty for the ski industry, the data from most countries shows that most ski resorts are developing in a healthy and sustainable way, with more and more skiers ready to return to the resorts”, says Wu Bin – Vice President of the Beijing Ski Association.

Factors influencing ski resort attendance in 2022/23

Weather and snow conditions played a crucial role in ski resort attendance in the 2022/23 season, in line with the industry’s usual observations. This season was marked by significant variability between regions: some countries enjoyed favourable weather and snow conditions, while others were less fortunate.

Compared with the average for the five years prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact of these conditions on visitor numbers varied significantly from one country to another. Canada, Italy and the United States recorded the best seasons in their history in terms of skiing conditions, which probably contributed to high visitor numbers. Germany, on the other hand, had one of its worst winter seasons ever, with insufficient snow cover and adverse weather conditions.