Statistics report millions of Chinese consumers taking to the slopes every winter in pursuit of skiing and snowboarding. This brings with it the potential windfall for “discovering” China’s next great domestic consumer trend.
While the volume of annual skier visits has exhibited strong growth over the past several years in China this may not be the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for some time.
In summer 2009, Horwath HTL conducted a primary research survey of nearly 200 Chinese skiers. This survey specifically targeted ski clubs and related outdoor interest groups, which were identified by ski resort operators to constitute a key source market for skier visits.
In selecting a ski destination, survey respondents generally placed very little importance on the quality of hotel accommodations or food-and-beverage facilities. 57% of respondents would only be prepared to pay $30-$45 per night for a “5-star hotel” located at the base of the ski slope.
Many ski area operators reported that because of budgetary constraints, many skiers choose “homestay” accommodation in the nearby village rather than pay a hotel.
It appears many Chinese come to a ski area primarily to ski.
Hotel News Now reports that with so much pressure riding on the ski season to bring in enough money for the year combined with the difficulty in identifying a mountainous destination that is accessible and appealing for outdoor recreation in all seasons, there is little financial incentive to create a high-quality ski experience for the Chinese market.