Contrary to the general trend, the winter tourism in Bavaria’s ski areas has suffered from decreases in the past ten years. The number of guest arrivals has risen slower than the Bavarian average – the number of overnight stays even decreased by seven percent.
While tourism communities in ski regions recorded 6.3 million overnight stays in the winter season 2005/06, the two winter quarters of 2013/14 only reached 5.8 million. This data comes from a reply of the Bavarian ministry of economics to a parliamentary inquiry made by Ludwig Hartmann, faction leader of “Die Grünen”.
One thing the ministry of economics does not report on are the reasons for the subpar performance of the ski regions. Some restaurateurs and ski school owners regretfully remark that many tourists from China or the Middle East, where skiing is largely unknown, only visit Bavaria during summer.
From this data “Die Grünen” conclude that subsidies for ski lifts and snow cannons are wasted money. „Your average tourist in Bavaria is looking for nature, hiking and wellness,“ Hartmann said. “But the CSU-administration pumps millions into ski lifts and artificial snow blowers, committing crimes against Alpine nature in the progress. This mountain arms race against Tirol has been lost a long time ago.”
Hartmann refers to a GfK-study made by the ministry of economics, which came to the conclusion that only eight percent of tourists in Bavaria care about winter sports. According to their data, the day to day tourism in ski areas increased by 35%. But hotel owners and camping grounds don’t see much of that. In the summer of 2014, only 7.4 percent more overnight stays were recorded in comparison to eight years ago – which is less than average compared to the rest of Bavaria, because as a whole, there were six million more overnight stays in 2014 than in 2006, which equals an increase of 13.4 percent.
Tourism is the main driving force behind the train which is the economy of Bavaria. But the CSU-administration has been purposefully leading this train off track, said faction leader Hartmann. Instead, he suggested that the future of tourism lies in environmental- and resource-friendly vacations. “Bavaria’s post card panorama is the trump card we’ve been looking for.”
In his administration’s letter, Business secretary Franz Pschierer (CSU) defends the skiing subsidies. The neighboring countries – especially Austria – have seen massive investments in the last two decades. This was to blame for the decreases in overnight stays and tourists in general in Bavarian winter sport regions – “with life-threatening consequences for hotel and restaurant owners”.