Summer 2020: Record Visitor Numbers for the Alps

Sep 1, 2020

It’s long been said that necessity is the mother of invention. This proverb certainly seems to have been proven correct by what we’re currently seeing in the Alps.

After a truncated winter ski season, resorts have pulled out all the creative stops to prepare for what has turned out to be a record-breaking summer.

What has the summer season looked like in the Alps?

The current world situation has created some uncertainty around travel. Many holidaymakers have addressed this by choosing to visit beauty spots closer to home rather than travelling by aeroplane.

The agencies France Montagnes and Atout France wisely built on this trend by running a campaign called “La montagne, tout naturellement” (the mountains, naturally). This campaign has reminded millions of people just how attractive the Alps are as a holiday destination. It’s helped support the rebranding of the area as a year-round destination, not just a winter one.

In addition to the creativity we’ve seen in highlighting the appeal of the Alps as a summer destination, resorts have done a great job of making visitors feel safe when they arrive. Accommodation providers and hospitality businesses have switched seamlessly to social distancing models. Accommodation providers who were prepared to offer flexible terms on bookings seem to have done particularly well.

Tourism businesses have also introduced a range of extra offers and benefits to make the prospect even more inviting. The Alps has so much more than skiing to offer. Summer visitors have enjoyed a wide range of activities including hiking, mountain biking, golf, yoga and water sports.

How impressive are the numbers?

August visitor numbers to the region have been described as ‘unprecedented’ and ‘beyond comprehension’. Accommodation providers have cited ‘double digit’ growth on summer 2019’s visitor numbers, while 80% of traders have seen a significant uptake in business. Restaurant owners have reported increase in demand of up to 25%.

Many local tourism offices have declared 2020 the best summer they’ve ever experienced.

Unsurprisingly, the majority of visitors to the area have been French, German and Swiss, though there has been a steady stream of other European visitors, including British and Dutch tourists.

A large number of people who own second properties in the area have taken up residency at a time of year they wouldn’t usually visit. As well as this, there seems to have been a big increase in completely new visitors to the area, particularly families who would usually have spent their summer break at the coast.

What could we expect in the future?

We had already started to see a shift towards the Alps becoming an attractive destination all year round. It seems as if the events of 2020 have accelerated this. This is brilliant news for anyone who loves the Alps; especially those who own property or businesses there.

It’s certainly very exciting to have seen so many visitors to the area, especially during a season the Alps hasn’t traditionally been associated with. After such a successful summer season, it seems likely that second home owners will change their habits in the future and not restrict their visits to the winter months. It’s also expected that a significant portion of the new visitors will have been converted to the charm of the mountains and will visit again and again in the future.

All things considered, things are looking very positive in the Alps right now.