Ski lift price check shows savings potential

Lift passes cost more than twice as much in Austria’s most popular skiing resorts than in small winter sport destinations, according to an investigation.

The Austrian Association for Costumer Information, VKI, said today (Thurs) comparably small regions in Lower Austria and Styria were charging less than 300 Euros for weekly passes for a whole family while large rivals were asking skiers to hand over more than 700 Euros for the same types of tickets.

Regions situated in Tyrol and Vorarlberg like the Sölden glacier winter sport area and towns located at the Arlberg Mountain are most expensive this year, the VKI’s latest lift pass price check shows. Erik Wolf, general manager of Austria’s Association of Ropeway Industries, criticised the VKI over its examination. “It seems no one takes into account that we have invested 5.6 billion Euros in the past 10 years,” he is quoted by the Salzburger Nachrichten as saying. The businessman added that aspects like skiing resorts’ accessibility, snow volumes and slope variety were of greater importance than prices.

Peter Zellmann, a renowned leisure time and tourism researcher, said last month good offers must be made to young families interested in hitting the slopes to ensure solid performances of the domestic winter tourism industry. “I know that the skiing cable car economy will not be pleased to hear this, but I think it is all about offering fair prices now,” he told the Kurier. Zellmann also pointed out that introducing crash price offers would not be necessary.

Ski lift pass prices rose by 10 per cent between 2006 and 2010. The Austrian inflation – showing the development of prices of all kinds of products and services on offer in the country – increased by just 7.5 per cent at the same time, according to magazine Konsument.

The Austrian Hotel Managers’ Association (ÖHV) said it was “only cautiously optimistic” about operations in the new season. A survey carried out by the ÖHV showed that 42.3 per cent of members expected an increase of overnight stays in the 2011/2012 season compared to last winter. Nearly 43 million overnight stays were recorded at Austrian hotels between November 2010 and February 2011, according to federal agency Statistik Austria. This was a decline of 2.1 per cent compared to the previous winter.

Meanwhile, city tourism is prospering. The Viennese tourism board announced last week that the number of overnight stays leapt by 3.3 per cent to 1.002 million from October 2010 to the same month this year. Tourism officials in the federal capital pointed out that this was the first time that more than one million overnight stays were recorded by the city’s hotels and guesthouses.

Vienna benefited from soaring interest of holidaymakers from Russia, Spain, France and Japan, they added. However, the number of overnight stays by vacationers and business travellers from Austria and the United States declined.

A standard double room in Vienna cost 133 Euros last month, according to global holiday platform Trivago’s Hotel Price Index (THPI). Hotels charged seven per cent more in September.