France is no longer the World’s Top Winter Sports Destination
Since 2011, France has consistently been the most popular destination in the world for winter sports travellers. However, due to a lack of snow across Europe during the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons, France has been toppled by its old rival – the USA.
Before France took the top spot in 2011-12, the USA had always been the go-to destination for winter sports holidays, and now it seems the tables have once again turned. France was able to attract millions of skiers and snowboarders with the promise of cheaper travel and accommodation, a much shorter journey and, most importantly, snow to rival the US. However, French resorts have been unable to live up to that final promise in the last two years, forcing people to look further afield for their frozen needs.
France has over 350 ski and snowboard resorts, representing 9% of the world’s share and just under 20% of France’s tourist economy. However, according to official reports, during the 2015-16 season France saw a 3% drop in winter sports visitors compared to the previous season, equating to a 6% drop over the last four seasons. Meanwhile, the USA saw a rise in winter sports travellers on its west coast, which enjoyed an unusually dry but snowy last season.
The report also stated that, after the 2015-16 season, there were 72 insurance claims from ski stations linked to bad weather conditions, totalling €2.85m – the highest in a decade.
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