Ski lift operators want extension of vouchers into winter season
As the epidemic was declared on 13 March, ski slopes were forced to shut down prematurely and only Kanin, Slovenia's highest-altitude ski resort, reopened in May for a few days, thus becoming the only ski slopes in the world to operate during the epidemic, according to
acting director of Sončni Kanin Manuela Božič Badalič.
Now, during the summer season, inspectors have been checking compliance with safety recommendations, and at Kanin no irregularities have been found, Božič Badalič, who is also the head of the Association of Slovenian Ski Lift Operators, told the STA.
"We are keeping safety distance, disinfect ski lifts, and four-person lifts carry only one person unless people come from the same household," she said.
But the situation will become much more challenging in the winter in case of bad weather, when skiers will seek shelter indoors.
According to her, the government is thinking of limiting the number of skiers at ski slopes. "In that case many ski slopes will not open unless the state offers compensation for the fallout."
Ski lift operators are also concerned about the sale of seasonal tickets, which are usually sold in the autumn, and the situation in Croatia, from where quite a few skiers come.
The summer season that is coming to an end was successful for resorts that also offer accommodation, as Slovenians cashed in their tourist vouchers there.
Tourism company Unitur, which manages the Zreče spa and Rogla ski centre, told the STA that Zreče and Rogla had recorded 31% more nights in July compared to the same month last year, and that their capacities were 77% full. Sales revenue was up by as much as 30% year-on-year. Similar figures are expected for August.
"We wish the vouchers were extended at least until the end of the winter season. Many people would use them in the winter season for staying at ski resorts. That would help ski slopes a lot," Božič Badalič said.
The association also proposes that the vouchers, which can be spent on accommodation or accommodation and breakfast in registered tourism facilities, could also be used to buy lift tickets, and that the subsidised furlough scheme be extended by the end of the year.
Ski lift operators are eligible for special financial aid or reimbursement of fixed expenses under the third stimulus package aimed at helping businesses after the epidemic. The money should be in at the beginning of November. Božič Badalič said ski lift operators are expected to receive some EUR 740,000 in aid.