February 6, 2018 - The importance of foreign ski travel to the tourism industry overall varies widely by country, with foreign ski travelers accounting for more than 20 percent of inbound winter travel (Jan-March, 2015-2017) in Austria, Switzerland and Italy, compared to only 1 percent in the U.S, according to the Visa International Travel (VISIT) platform.* (Austria is ranked first in Visa's list of top 25 cross-border ski destinations.)
Domestic residents account for the majority of visits to the slopes, but foreign travelers also influence the local economies, according to Visa Business and Economic Insights analysis of VisaNet and Visa's proprietary travel datasets. Many countries appear to have significant room for growth in foreign travel to their ski destinations, with a potential upside of 2.2 million new ski travelers globally, representing an increase of up to 20 percent from today's levels.
Currently, more than half of all cross-border travelers to ski destinations come from countries where one in five residents is already over the age of 65. Europe—with some of the world's most rapidly aging populations—accounts for more than 80 percent of all global cross-border visitors to winter ski destinations, according to Visa. Increasingly, a new demographic of skiers in untapped or nascent markets—especially the Asian emerging markets—should provide new opportunities for ski destinations and tourism merchants to sustain and grow their business into the next decade.
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