However, all is not lost, with many markets set to enjoy a bumper season courtesy of domestic tourists, who are going to take advantage of an opportunity to enjoy all that their country has to offer without hordes of foreign tourists descending on them!
For instance, for Britons who would normally head to the popular ski resorts in France, Austria and Switzerland, the reality is that a ski holiday is going to be difficult to organise. None of the countries are on the government’s travel corridor list, so anyone who does go must isolate for two weeks on return – and in the case of British travellers heading to Switzerland, they must quarantine for 10 days on arrival as well, really scuppering any holiday plans. Norway requires Britons to quarantine for 10 days on arrival, and from 23 November, British tourists arriving in Finland will be asked to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test result no more than 72 hours old, then quarantine for another 72 hours (unless the visit is shorter than that) and retested. A whole load of hoops to jump through. Indeed, tour operators are scaling back on preparations for this winter. Crystal Ski, the UK’s largest ski operator, has scaled back its operations by 30 per cent, and is not offering catered chalets this season. In an effort to boost confidence, Crystal, and many other tour operators, are reassuring customers that if people book now, if their destination in still on the quarantine list when the time comes to travel, they will be offered full refunds.
While travel across borders to reach slippery slopes might be off the cards for the moment, there is still hope for tour operators and resorts thanks to a strong demand among more local winter sports enthusiasts. Indeed, many Alpine resorts have also enjoyed a healthy summer season, reporting high numbers of domestic tourists. Nadine Carle-Edgar, spokesperson for six popular French ski regions, commented: “After an excellent summer, French resorts feel confident about the winter. They expect to have mainly French visitors but hope the British can come.”
Many skiers will have to face a scaling back of the apres-ski scene that is so popular. Concerns about infection of Covid-19 mean that socialising after a bit of skiing will become and outdoors-only activity. Ischgl in Austria, which has come in for some criticism of its handling of an outbreak in March, has announced plans to move away from party tourism, cancelling the major music events with which it usually starts the season.