Winter tourism in Germany is much more than skiing! Consumer motives and implications to Alpine destination marketing
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SubjectAlps; choice set; destination attribute; nature-based tourism; ski resorts; skiing; Sustainability; travel motive; winter
Winter sports tourism is a key economic factor in many mountain regions worldwide. Research to date has concentrated on economic and environmental questions related to winter sports and winter outdoor activities, with the impacts of climate change and adaptation strategies being the dominant fields of discussion. An analysis of German winter holidays indicates that winter sports are only one of several product types. The fact that the majority of German travellers prefer long-haul warm weather destinations in the winter raises the question of triggering factors for winter holiday trips. A qualitative study based on a Germany-wide online discussion forum analyses all aspects of winter trips. It centres on people’s everyday life during the winter and their linked emotions, travel motives, destination choices and general expectations, in particular with relation to trips to Alpine destinations. The results show that the grey winter weather and factors such as cold, humidity, lack of sun and dull atmosphere are the dominant factors in the desire to escape on a holiday trip. Non-skiers expect snow-covered landscapes and an environment conducive to relaxation-related activities and are therefore likely to be looking for sustainable winter products. This supports Alpine destination managers who are developing sustainable winter products in addition to winter sports in order to become more competitive in the non-skier market.
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