Editorial – Laurent Vanat
Mountain Planet, Partner Of Laurent Vanat's "2021 Snow Report"
The 2021 International Report on Snow & Mountain Tourism has just been unveiled during an online press conference held on April 13th, 2021, in cooperation with the organisers of
Mountain Planet International Exhibition. This 13th edition of the report presents winter 2019/20, a season that has been brutally interrupted by the outbreak of covid-19 all over
the world. This is of course reflected in the numbers...
"The experience of these past winter and summer seasons in mountain resorts open around the world—and there were many of them, if you don't mind me saying—has once again illustrated how strong domestic tourism really is. Even though international travellers were very scarce, domestic customers—who were eager to get away from oppressive cities in lockdown—aspired to escape to the mountains. It reached a point where some local resorts, thanks to favorable weather conditions, hardly felt the impact of the pandemic that has been blocking us for more than a year.
Mountain players have no control over the effects of the global pandemic. Apart from exercising due diligence and applying health measures dictated by the circumstances, resorts remain powerless in the face of decisions made by out-of-touch governments. All of this is illustrated in the absence of French skiing during the 2020/2021 season. The behavior of some national governments has highlighted the distance felt between the mountains and central metropolises. This is why efforts need to be intensified to bring the mountains closer to the urban population. Anything that can give the mountain what it needs to meet this challenge is welcome. In my opinion, there is still an inexhaustible potential for innovation in this area.
The importance of domestic guests and the need to bring mountains and urban populations closer together recalls the conclusion of my 2021 International Report on Snow and Mountain Tourism that has just been presented at the press conference launching Mountain Planet 2022. Even though the 2019/20 season concluded with a 17% global drop in ski area attendance—and the soon-ending current season will likely be even more impacted by the great absence of France—I prefer to think of this pandemic as just an accident in our history.
It has shown us that, against all odds, mountains attract, and are even becoming more attractive. The main concern of the mountain is therefore not health. The mountains remain focused on the fundamentals which are pampering and developing clientele, finding them in the larger urban areas closest to the resorts and offering them convenience in terms of facilities and traffic before looking for them all over the world—although distant horizons contribute to a part of the dream. This is also the case with the coming Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games. The beauty of the recently unveiled Olympic infrastructures and the grandeur of the Chinese-style organization suggest that international mountain suppliers were in a fierce competition to provide the equipment for this event. This will be a beautiful showcase of expertise and a ray of hope for the 2021/22 season regardless of the ambient gloom."