A look into the crystal ball of ski destination development - The role of Alpine Summer Parks


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Recently, winter tourism destinations have developed summer attractions as climate change threatens their success. Increasing the number of summer attractions in ski resorts could also be part of the operators’ strategy to adapt to shorter winter and longer summer seasons. Scholarly literature on this evolution is currently limited. This research note aims to close this research gap: first, by examining the relevance of summer tourism at ski resorts and for ski-resort operators; second, by investigating reasons for opening summer attractions and third, by analyzing the impact of summer attractions on climate-induced issues. Two focus groups and one association study were conducted among ski-resort operators to assess why ski resorts invest in summer attractions, specifically Alpine summer parks [ASP] that are branded separately but are typically located in the ski resort. The results show that these attractions are designed to increase visitor numbers in summer and are thus considered an essential element of the summer season. At the same time, while the summer season per se is (still) given little importance, its future potential was emphasized by all respondents. ASPs are seen as part of the future, but not as the future. While climate change was never mentioned in the focus groups, the results of the association study show that climate-induced issues are recognized as a critical challenge for ski-resort operators.



Ski resort operators, Summer attractions, Alpine summer parks, Climate change