Chinese Skiers Begin To Replace Russians on Alpine Slopes

23rd May 2019

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A new report on the English-language has indicated that a rapidly increasing number of Chinese visitors is, to some extent, filling a gap left by a declining number of Russian skiers visiting the Alps.

The number of Russian skiers visiting the alps, which had grown rapidly through the early years of this century, has dropped since sanctions on Russia following the country’s  annexation of Crimea in 2014 led to a dramatic decline in value of the rouble.  Improving ski resort facilities within Russia and in near neighbouring countries that are cheaper for Russians to visit like Turkey has also had an impact.

Noting that the number of ski areas in China has nearly tripled since 2010 to more than 740 and that the number of skiers has grown by more than a third to 13.2 million since 2015 the report says the number of Chinese winter visitors to Austria has grown almost five-fold from 64,000 in 2005 to 322,000 last year.

The report noted St. Anton am Arlberg has been hosting the Chinese national ski team, partly to increase their profile in China, whilst Switzerland has a growing number of direct flight-connections to China and Chinese-speaking ski instructors in 13 resorts as well as a ‘First Ski Experience’ one-stop-shop on offer at 19 resorts, providing ski passes, ski rentals and ski instructors.

Experts advised Chinese visitors are largely beginner level skiers and needed to be well looked after if they were to enjoy their experience and want to return. They also indicated many came for the alpine experience as much as to learn to ski or board.