PARIS WEATHER

Left out in the cold: Covid-19 puts the freeze on Alpine ski resorts

Issued on: 15/01/2021 – 20:05Modified: 15/01/2021 – 20:07

Whether it’s for the fresh air and exhilarating outdoor pursuits, or the hot chocolate, fondue and après-ski fun, Europe’s Alps are one of the continent’s most popular holiday destinations. Or at least, they used to be. The region boasts more than a third of the world’s ski resorts, and normally a winter season in the Alps generates about €28 billion in revenue. But major operators say bookings this year are dramatically down amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

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One complication is that not all Europe’s Alpine countries are taking the same path as each other, despite calls for European coordination on the coronavirus response.

This has been the cause for some argument, with France banning the use of ski lifts, putting most resorts out of action – while in Austria many resorts are fully functional.

We speak to two MEPs and ask them: what’s the right approach to this issue? Is public health at risk and will the thousands of businesses that rely on winter sports survive?

Produced by Mathilde Bénézet and Isabelle Romero

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