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AUSTRIA TOPS FRANCE - James Cove, PlanetSKI Editor
Monday June 3, 2019 - Email this article to a friend

The UK's largest ski tour operator, Crystal SKI, has revealed the choices of its customers. Austria is the most popular destination. UPDATED

Overall UK skiers and snowboarders have preferred France for many years.

According to the Crystal Ski Industry Report in 2000/01 36.4% of British skiers went to France and 18.8% to Austria.

Fast forward a decade or so and by 2011/12 the gap had shrunk.

France was still the biggest, but its share had fallen to 34.6% and Austria had risen to 27.9%.

The trend continued and in 2013/14 France took 33% and Austria 28%.

Remember, the figures released today are only for Crystal customers and not the overall market.

But they make interesting reading.

Winter 2018/19 saw 32% of Crystal Ski customers heading to Austria.

France was just behind at 30%.

There are no reliable figures for the overall UK market and France may well still be ahead, but the figures from the UK's largest ski tour operator and have been welcomed in Austria.

"We are absolutely delighted to hear that UK guests appreciate Austria's world-class ski areas, traditional hospitality, and value-for-money," said the director of the Austria National Tourist Office UK, Martina Jamnig, to PlanetSKI.

"The Austrian tourism industry constantly strives to upgrade the lifts and infrastructure to be able to offer people a smooth holiday experience."

"Plus, we just love welcoming our guests, spending time with them, and making their stay as comfortable and memorable as possible. We're happy to see that this dedication is reflected in these numbers."

There has also been reaction from the province that most British skiers and snowboarders head to, the Tirol.

"It is an honour that so many British skiers choose Austria for their skiing holiday. We see this positive development also in our figures too, with approximately half the British guests visiting Tirol when they come to Austria," said Angela Semrajc from Tirol Tourism.

In the 1970s Austria took almost half of the UK ski market but that was eradicated with the onward march of France in the 80s and 90s.

The Tirol, AustriaThe Tirol, Austria
















Do you prefer Austria or France?


Please feel free to comment over on the PlanetSKI Facebook page and we will add some of your comments to this story.

Social media reaction so farSocial media reaction so far

Other PlanetSKI readers are going for Austria.

Aileen Eglington - Austria.Friendlier and better value..Yet France superb on large ski areas if you want endless ski kms!

Jonathan Miller-Cole -  ‪Austria, friendlier people, better food and drink and Tirol is just pure heaven

One prefers Italy overall.

Simone Tarigo -  ‪Italy! No doubts

And Phil Smith from Snoworks can't separate Austria and France:

Sitting on the fence or loving both?!Sitting on the fence or loving both?!

















So, what else is revealed about the habits of Crystal Ski customers in the latest statistics and figures?

  • Northerners prefer Austria whilst southerners head to France.
  • Passo Tonale in Italy is a family favourite.
  • More couples prefer Austria.
North v South

The North v South divide is also interesting among Crystal Ski customers.

Those who live in the north of the UK choose the Austrian slopes.

Mayrhofen in the Tirol and Zell am See were hot favourites, while some also chose Borovets in Bulgaria.

France was the country of choice for most southerners.

The top resorts in France for 2018/19 were Tignes and Val Thorens in Les3Vallees.

Val Thorens, FranceVal Thorens, France
















See below for an earlier PlanetSKI story that revealed the top resorts for the UK's largest ski agent, Iglu Ski:

Families v Couples

The divides don't end there.

Crystal Ski Holiday's top resort for families was Passo Tonale, Italy.

Zell Am See in Austria was the resort of choice for couples.

Passo Tonale welcomed more Crystal customers than the previous winter.

The most popular accommodation for families was the Grand Hotel Paradiso in Passo Tonale with 1,600 families staying.

Bulgaria was also a family destination of choice - The Rila in Borovets was the second favourite hotel for Crystal customers.

The second favourite resort was La Plagne, France.

The resort of Borovets in Bulgaria also saw a substantial increase in visitors.

The Finnish resort of Ruka saw substantial numbers.

In total, Crystal customers travelling with families booked over 700 childcare places for winter 2018/19.

Ski couples' favourite hotel in their top destination of Austria was the Tirolerhof in Zell am See.

For older couples the resort of Obergurgl in the Tirol came out top.

Younger couples opted for the party hotspot of Borovets thanks to its lively nightlife plus good value hotels and lift passes.

Last Minute

Last winter was the season for last minute bookings with late escapes counting for 15% of total bookings in January.

February, as ever, was particularly popular for families, particularly in school half term.

Those travelling to France bought the most extras.

These included equipment and lift passes and despite not being the most popular resort for families, Austria had the most sales for ski and snowboard tuition.

Good snow encourages last minute bookingsGood snow encourages last minute bookings
















The 2019/20 Season

Crystal claims bookings for next winter are going well.

Customers in the north still favour Austria but the southerners have mixed it up a bit and Italy and Finland are currently leading the way.

"This season has been a great one for Crystal and we enjoy celebrating our successes and looking back at trends and statistics," said the Managing Director at Crystal Ski Holidays, Chris Logan.

"They help us decide what we can do even better and we already have some great plans for next season."

Here at PlanetSKI we will be reporting on those plans shortly but they include new flight routes, new childcare clubs, a new resort and a revamped chalet product.

We will also be looking at the future of the traditional chalet holiday as Crystal Ski places increased emphasis on the age-old favourite.

Do check back for more details later...

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