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First-time skiers lead post-pandemic charge to the slopes

Novice skiers are looking to make the most of their post-pandemic winter holiday.

Holidaymakers in Europe haven’t been put off by the pandemic with more travellers than ever opting to give skiing a go for the first time, research has found.

All-inclusive holiday specialist Club Med has published its annual ski report, reporting that more than 60% of those surveyed plan to attempt their first ski holiday this season. Just under half who took part in the survey said they had opted for a winter sports holiday “to try something different”.

This broadening of horizons is no doubt in part due to the dearth of travel opportunities over the last 18 months. More than half of those surveyed said that they had had an overseas trip cancelled due to the pandemic and three-quarters had opted to postpone their break to the following season.

Club Med discovered that half of those questioned were prepared to spend more on a winter activity holiday than in previous years; the hospitality group is anticipating a higher spend than in previous years on additional experiences and excursions such as dog sledding, spa treatments and Nordic walking.

Despite widespread vaccination, in-resort health and safety measures remained important to holidaymakers. Regular cleaning, social distancing, accessible hand sanitiser, onsite testing and the wearing of face masks in public spaces were all considered important.

Along with a safe environment, Club Med has also been working hard on its eco-credentials. Innovations have included the removal of single-use plastics in resort bars and restaurants, ‘Green Globe’ certification for more than 80% of Club Med resorts and partnerships with ‘green’ companies such as Solucycle to introduce sustainable systems such as turning waste into green energy.

Forty-two per cent of those surveyed said they have reconsidered the type of holidays they take in light of the recent conversations around climate change. And more than half said they look at the sustainability credentials of a ski resort before booking. The most important factors were the operator giving back to the local community, the use of sustainably-sourced foods, a ban on single-use plastics and involvement in food recycling programmes.

But perhaps most tellingly of all, almost half of those who took part in the survey said they would continue with their holiday this winter even if it meant quarantining on their return.

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