Even though snow conditions are near perfect in the Alps at the moment, skiing holidays are in danger of falling through altogether.
With a mandatory quarantine on entering the country, closed hotels and restaurants, Austria can be scrapped off the list as a winter sports destination until the end of February. Only Austrians will be able to enjoy the slopes and ski lifts.
The situation is similar in Switzerland. Hotels in Switzerland are open, but the Grand Duchy is still categorised as a red zone, which means that Luxembourg residents must observe a strict quarantine period upon arrival.
In Germany, hotels and ski lifts are closed at least until the end of January. The ski resorts are open in principle, but they may be closed occasionally in case of heavy traffic. The country's lockdown will more than likely be extended and perhaps even reinforced.
In France, there are few entry restrictions for residents of other EU countries and ski slopes as well as hotels are open. However, ski lifts are closed, and a very restrictive curfew has been introduced, which does not make the destination very attractive for ski holidays.
As for Italy, everything is firmly shut, from hotels to the ski slopes. The winter sports season is practically cancelled. In short, the classic winter sports destinations are to be forgotten, at least for the next few weeks.
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Travel agencies only have some slim hope left, as Fernand Heinisch of the Union of Luxembourg Travel Agencies (ULAC) explains. Heinisch thinks it is very likely that the sector will have to give up winter sports this year. However, as there is a lot of snow, they are placing their hopes on the end of March, Easter, which is also a good season for skiing. The days will be longer and there is usually still a lot of snow. It would have been a great ski season with this nice weather, Heinisch laments, but unfortunately, "it won't be so".
Skiing holidays are usually booked directly at the hotel. They are therefore not part of the main activities of travel agencies. Nevertheless, travel agencies have noticed a greater caution on the part of customers, who have booked fewer winter sports holidays than in previous years.
Besides, the atmosphere in travel agencies is rather depressing at the moment: little work, empty offices. The few remaining bookings are for sunny destinations: The Canary Islands, Madeira, Dubai, the Maldives.
The few customers who do make reservations do so at the last minute. Some book on Monday to leave at the end of the week, Heinisch explains, meaning that the deadlines are extremely short. Of course, travel agencies are happy and grateful for every customer. However, there are so few at the moment, that "we could be crying for a year already", according to Heinisch.
The travel agencies are hoping for a "happy summer", to compensate for the losses of winter and spring.
The full report in Luxembourgish: