Published On: Sun, Feb 3rd, 2019

Playground Alps: Demands Of Winter Guests Change

FurffSie not only romp around on the slopes, but increasingly wander through the snow.

Playground Alps

On winter weekends, the forest slopes of the Innsbruck Nordkette are like a meeting zone. As walkers meet on the snowy paths of the recreational area on toboggan and snowshoe hikers. They have to share the course with touring riders on the ascent or downhill, or expect a biker to meet them in the winter – on a snow-ready fatbike.

But it’s no longer just locals who enjoy winter away from the slopes. Tourism has to adapt to new wishes of the tourists. “In the past, people dogmatically went skiing every day. But the holiday behavior is no longer so performance-oriented, “says Hubert Siller, tourism researcher at the Management Center Innsbruck (MCI).

At the same time, however, movement in a snowy landscape is gaining in importance. This requires offers that also have to be based on demographic aspects. “We see strongly that different generations holiday together. Older people do not want to be physically active but are looking for active recreation.”

Skiing is still number one in winter holidays- even if prices are rising year after year. This can be seen, for example, in interviews with Tirol Werbung. Four out of five overnight guests are therefore still on the slopes. But already 38 percent go hiking in the mountains (or climbing a winter via ferrata). In Tyrol alone, 16 regions focus on the topic, which is a form of exercise for all age groups.

“Unlike in the past, winter sports activities are practiced today in all phases of life,” says Ingrid Schneider from Tirol Werbung. At the same time, guests would want more variety. They can be found, for example, in snowshoeing, which is still a niche topic and only operated by six percent of tourists. The number of offers, however, is increasing.

Even winter biking is far from a mass phenomenon. But the fatbikes are increasingly seen in the winter terrain, which evokes memories of old conflicts of use between mountain bikers and hikers.

With all the activity offered, it is also important for tourism professionals to keep their balance. “The alpine area in winter is different than in summer,” says Siller – keyword avalanche. That’s why the safety of the guests must be in the foreground. If the sledding is still expanding, the researcher sees potential in this area. He therefore demands: “Just as there are blue pistes, we also need blue lanes when tobogganing.” Every fifth holiday already inspires for fun.

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