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With Victorian border closed Australia’s ski season focuses on NSW
With the Victorian border closed and Vail Resorts having suspended ski-lift operations at Falls Creek and Mt Hotham, the NSW snow resorts of Thredbo, Perisher/Smiggins and smaller resorts in the NSW Snowy Mountains are the only places where Australians will be able to participate in winter sports this year.
While travel to Victoria is halted until at least late August, the latest Roy Morgan data shows 322,000 Australians plan on visiting one of the NSW Snowfields in the next two years. Over three-quarters of these prospective skiers and snowboarders (249,000) are from NSW/ACT including 180,000 from Sydney and a further 69,000 from Country NSW/ACT.
In addition, a further 60,000 Australians from the rest of Australia (Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia) who plan on visiting one of the NSW Snowfields in the next two years.
The new research shows that the border closure will not have a big impact on the NSW ski resorts as only 13,000 potential skiers and snowboarders from Victoria plan on visiting one of the NSW ski resorts. Most Victorians prefer one of the local resorts.
Australians planning to visit NSW ski resorts by location
Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2019 - March 2020, n=378. Base: Australians aged 14+ who say they regularly or occasionally go skiing or snowboarding.
The renewed outbreak of COVID-19 in Melbourne has led to the re-implementation of Stage 3 lockdown restrictions across metropolitan Melbourne and has already seen two of Victoria’s leading ski resorts, Falls Creek and Mt Hotham, announce immediate six week closures of their ski lifts until late August.
The independently owned Mt Buller ski resort is still open for regional Victorians. However, the data shows Victorian ski resorts, such as Mt Buller, rely heavily on Melburnians. Of the 163,000 Victorians planning to visit a local ski resort in the next two years 134,000 (82%) are from locked down Melbourne and only 29,000 (18%) are from the still open Country Victoria.
Advising that the renewed outbreak of COVID19 in Victoria has dashed the hopes of Victorian ski resorts to operate this winter, Roy Morgan Chief Executive, Michele Levine commented “Australian ski resorts have spent months hoping Australians were able to ‘flatten the curve’ of COVID19. For NSW resorts this wish has been granted with minimal rates of community transmission in the State for many weeks allowing the Thredbo and Perisher/Smiggins resorts to open for visitors from all parts of Australia apart from Victoria.
“(Our) data shows the southern border closure will not have a big impact on visits to the NSW resorts - only 13,000 Victorians say they planned to visit NSW ski resorts during the next two years. Of the 322,000 Australians who do plan to visit a NSW ski resort over three-quarters are in NSW/ACT including 180,000 in Sydney and 69,000 in regional NSW or the ACT.
“Unfortunately for the Victorian resorts it is set to be a long winter with Mt. Hotham and Falls Creek - both owned by US ski resort operator Vail Resorts - announcing they are closing their ski lifts until late August.
“The rival Mt Buller resort announced on Friday afternoon that it would remain open for business. However, the lockdown of the Melbourne metropolitan area means only Victorians in rural and regional areas are allowed to visit Mt. Buller.
"The latest In-depth Roy Morgan data on Victorian skiers and snowboarders shows over 80% of those planning to visit the ski fields reside in metropolitan Melbourne and fewer than 20%, or about 29,000, are in Country Victoria.”
NSW borders remain open to residents of Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia although the return home might require a period of quarantine.
Main image shows skiing at Perisher.
Article amended 11.30am, 16th July 2020 to reflect that Mt Buller - the first major Victorian resort to open its lifts (as of 24th June) - is still open for regional Victorians.
22nd February 2019 - Vail Resorts confirm purchase of Victoria’s Falls Creek and Hotham ski resorts
4th June 2020 - Mt Hotham’s 2020 snow season focus is on keeping visitors safe
25th May 2020 - Announcement of 2020 snow season welcomed by Mt Hotham
6th February 2020 - Extensive bushfire damage prevents Selwyn Snow Resort opening for 2020 season
22nd June 2020 - Opening of NSW ski season backed by COVIDSafe hygiene measures
11th May 2020 - Australian Ski Resorts launch Keep Our Season Safe Campaign
7th July 2020 - Industry impacted by new Victorian Coronavirus lockdown
28th March 2017 - ARU rejects Roy Morgan findings on rugby participation
20th August 2009 - News not all bad for tourism: Roy Morgan
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