Winter sport locations such as Geneva and Salt Lake City soar in popularity by as much as 295%


Skiing holidays are back on the agenda for thousands of winter sports fans after the majority of hotspots remained closed last year, new research has revealed.

A number of locations have soared in interest in recent weeks with Geneva seeing an increase of nearly 300 per cent in searches over the last month alone, according to Skyscanner.

Other popular destinations include Turin and Salt Lake City in Utah. While many would hope to be skiing in Austria, the country is now in a national lockdown until mid-December. 

Many people missed out on winter sports trips last year after a number of leading ski chalets cancelled holidays thanks to coronavirus. 

Many holidaymakers are looking for winter sports holidays after being unable to go last year

Many holidaymakers are looking for winter sports holidays after being unable to go last year

However, a number of locations are now back taking bookings, which will be music to the ears for those who love skiing and snowboarding. 

The surge in interest comes at a time when it is not clear if all resorts will be open to visitors. 

For instance, despite the fact Austria is now in a national lockdown, ski lifts can remain open to the vaccinated. Hotels will, however, close to tourists not already staying there when the lockdown began. 

Laura Lindsay, trends and destinations expert at Skyscanner, said: ‘Seasonal travel is tentatively returning and the coming months are traditionally a time for travellers to escape to the mountains for some adrenaline and après-ski.

‘We are seeing travellers increasingly searching for their favourite spots for winter sports, with Geneva the most popular by volume of searches.

‘Geneva is also enjoying one of the most impressive rises in interest with an almost 300 per cent increase in searches over the last month.

‘Prices are unbelievably low just now, and you can currently book a return trip to Turin for less than £20, that’s less than it costs to add your skis to your luggage.

‘Even with seasonal trends such as winter sports travel beginning to re-remerge, travel bookings are still being made much closer to the date of departure than we saw pre-pandemic.

‘This short-term booking trend means that prices for early 2022 sporting trips are still extremely low and could start to rise as demand increases over the coming weeks, so it’s a good time to book if you’re looking for a cheaper-than-average ski getaway.’ 

This is Money, with the help of Skyscanner, takes a look at some of the most popular winter holiday locations.

All travel referenced is economy class for customers travelling from the UK.

Innsbruck, Austria, is still included as customers can book from mid-December – although, it could be considered a brave choice. Ski lifts are currently open for vaccinated residents.  

Winter holiday car hire prices soar by up to 86%

Holidaymakers are urged to be aware of soaring car hire prices when travelling abroad with costs as much as 86 per cent more this year than they were in 2019, new research from Kayak has revealed. 

Since the pandemic, prices have increased substantially, thanks to a  computer chip shortage that is halting the supply of new cars and has sent values of used motors soaring in recent months.

Whilst rental companies try to replace their vehicles every one to two years, the supply of replacement models is dwindling and this is pushing costs up.

HIRE CAR PRICES 
Destination Average car hire searches in 2021 vs 2019 (Yo2Y) Average daily car hire price in 2021  Average daily car hire price in 2019  Average daily car hire price in 2021 vs 2019 (Yo2Y)
Innsbruck, Austria 20% £60 £34 76%
Salzburg, Austria 8% £68 £37 86%
Geneva, Switzerland 28% £55 £34 61%
Zurich, Switzerland 64% £72 £44 64%
Granada, Spain 40% £37 £25 47%
Chambéry, France 108% £37 £31 22%
Grenoble, France  119% £40 £31 32%
Turin, Italy 83% £38 £21 82%
Vancouver, Canada 20% £43 £28 53%
Aspen, CO, USA  128% £122 £85 43%
Salt Lake City. UT, USA 76% £69 £40 70%
Vail, CO, USA 122% £82 £55 51%
Source: Kayak         

Salzburg in Austria has seen the biggest increase of 86 per cent with the average daily price at £37 in 2019 but £68 in 2021. 

Turin in Italy has the second highest jump of 82 per cent with the average price now at £38 – up from £21 two years ago. 

Innsbruck in Austria and Salt Lake City in Utah also have seen high price increases at 76 and 70 per cent, respectively. 

Meanwhile, Chambery and Grenoble, both in France, saw the smallest jump in prices with costs going up 22 and 32 per cent, respectively.

This is despite the number of searches for car hire in the destinations being among some of the highest with an increase of 108 and 110 per cent.  

This is Money also contacted a number of firms to see if they had any internal data.  

A Europcar spokesperson said: ‘Market conditions have changed enormously in the last 18 months or so. 

‘Numerous factors, from access to staff and difficulties in vehicle supply due to the current semi-conductors crisis and the related fleet shortage, to the increased levels of cleaning between rentals weigh on the costs for the rental sector as a whole.’  

Travelsupermarket added it has seen an increase in demand for Geneva with a 21 per cent surge in people searching for car hire for future dates from the airport, compared to the last week of October, due to the approaching ski season. 

The Kayak data was based on car hire searches made on its website between 1 August 2021 to 21 November 2021 for travel dates 1 December 2021 to 28 February 2022, compared to searches made between 1 August 2019 to 21 November 2019 for travel dates 1 December 2019 to 28 February 2020. 

Geneva has seen an increase in popularity of 295% over the last month with flights at £68

Geneva has seen an increase in popularity of 295% over the last month with flights at £68

Geneva – Switzerland

Increase in popularity: 295 per cent increase in searches over the last month for travel over the ski season (December to March).

When: Week of 13 December is the most popular with travellers searching on Skyscanner.

How much: Direct, return flights for 13 to 20 December from London available now for £68. 

Turin – Italy

Increase in popularity: 783 per cent increase in searches over the last month for travel over the ski season (December to March).

When: Week of 13 December is the most popular with travellers searching on Skyscanner.

How much: Direct, return flights for 13 to 19 December from London available now for £14.

Despite the fact Austria is in a national lockdown, ski lifts can remain open to the vaccinated

Despite the fact Austria is in a national lockdown, ski lifts can remain open to the vaccinated

Chambery – France

Increase in popularity: 203 per cent increase in searches over the last month for travel over the ski season (December to March).

When: Week of 27 December is the most popular with travellers searching on Skyscanner.

How much: Direct, return flights for 14 to 21 December from London available now for £61.

Salt Lake City (Utah) – US

Increase in popularity: 60 per cent increase in searches over the last month for travel over the ski season (December to March).

When: Week of 27 December is the most popular with travellers searching on Skyscanner.

How much: Return flights for 27 December to 9 January from London available now for £595

Denver (Colorado) – US

Increase in popularity: 30 per cent increase in searches over the last month for travel over the ski season (December to March).

When: Week of 27 December is the most popular with travellers searching on Skyscanner.

How much: Direct, return flights for 12 to 19 January from London available now for £493

Innsbruck (not available until December) – Austria

Increase in popularity: 194 per cent increase in searches over the last month for travel over the ski season (December to March).

When: Week of 20 December is the most popular with travellers searching on Skyscanner.

How much: Direct, return flights for 20 to 27 December from London available now for £118.

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