Tour Operators Report Christmas Bookings Bouncing Back

STORY BY Patrick Thorne

Tour operators are reporting sales of Christmas ski holidays are well up on recent years, thanks, they think, to last year’s snowy start to the winter.

This time a year ago tour operators were reporting more availability than usual for Christmas and New Year as skiers seemed to be deterred by three successive slow starts to the winter for snowfall in the Alps from 2015 to 2017.  Easter ski holiday sales, on the other hand, were booming.

The huge January snowfalls which led to some resorts having to close their slopes and in some cases their streets for several days in January due to the danger caused by the snow volumes isn’t appearing to deter anyone either.

“With so much snow last December and throughout the season in the French Alps, confidence has returned and bookings for this coming Christmas and New Year are already 150% up on the same time last year. The French kept going throughout so it will be busy again in December and it is clear that there won’t be the last minute deals seen last seasons. It will be more a question of finding availability,” explained Xavier Schouller, boss of French ski holiday specialist companies Peak Retreats and Ski Collection.

“Christmas week is currently our most well sold date, over and above New Year, half term and Easter,” confirmed a spokesperson for chalet holiday specialists VIP Ski, who added, “Christmas week in Val d’Isere particularly is 80% sold already.”

This year Christmas and New Year’s Day fall on a Tuesday so there are no transfer day complications for those booking the usual Saturday or Sunday starting ski week.

“Christmas bookings are massively up and we’re sure it’s due to the great conditions last winter,” said Richard Sinclair of ski holiday travel agency Sno.co.uk, who added, “Our Christmas ski holidays page is seeing record traffic and enquiries, in spite of the heatwave and World Cup.  In previous years it was the Easter weeks at end of season that booked out early, but this year Xmas is looking like it will go first.”

In terms of the rest of the season:

“Half term is selling well and Brits who are restricted to skiing at half term should book early since Paris’ February holiday is at the same time, so prices are higher and there’s less availability,” a spokesperson for Pierre & Vacances commented, “Easter, being later this year, was predicted to be a slower sell, but it’s been selling well similar to last year so far.”

 

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