Crystal Ski has seen growth for the first time in four years, with managing director Simon Cross attributing the increase to good levels of snow in Europe and an early Easter.
Cross said he hoped the growth would continue now that “grass shoots of recovery” were developing in the market.
Crystal Ski’s annual report revealed tour operators and the independent travel sector experienced a 1% rise in sales of packages.
However, the combined school and student market dipped by 2%, caused primarily by competing school trips and pressure on families’ disposable income.
Industry-wide the number of skiers increased by 1% in 2012/13 season to 899,700, the first increase since it peaked in 2007/08.
Cross said Crystal Ski had strengthened its market share by 1% to 34%, something he believed had been helped by its Ski Plus packages and all inclusive and early booking offers.
A challenge for the year ahead is Easter being later than usual, however Cross said he hoped the industry would continue to grow.
“We said last year that we thought we were at the bottom of the decline,” he said. “And now having seen growth I would like to think this is something we can build on.”
He said Crystal Ski’s Learn To Ski packages were key to increasing new-to-ski numbers and having initially been set up for adults, the packages are now set to also include children.
Speaking to Travel Weekly, Cross said agents were key in offering customers essential advice for the ski holidays.
He said: “There are agents who are so knowledgeable about ski holidays, they offer a really valuable service to customers.
“We are always keen to work with people who are really understanding of what ski holidays are all about. The calendar fell well for us with good departures around Christmas and New Year.
“I also think people are more confident about what is included in their holidays, previously I think people were unsure.
“We introduced packages a number of years ago and people are becoming more confident as a result of us being able to outline exactly what is included.
“As an industry we need to keep growing and we need to keep attracting new people into the industry.
“We cannot rest on our laurels because we need to keep delivering – not only as Crystal Ski but as an industry.”
When asked how prices were holding up, Cross said there had been very little movement on accommodation rates.
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