In Austria, the 2017/18 season registered a 4.8 percent increase in attendance. The poorer figures in France and the U.S. propelled Austria to the first rank in skier visits podium for the first time in recent history. In France, attendance improved by 5.6 percent to 53.8 million skier visits, after four seasons in a row with decreasing figures, but attendance still remained 0.4 percent below a five-year average. France is the number one destination in terms of arrivals in world tourism, although the ski industry is still mainly driven by the domestic market. Italy showed a 6.8 percent improvement in attendance in 2017/18. However, Italy is the only major market that does not supply proper national yearly attendance figures, says the report, which relies on estimates.
Switzerland has garnered worldwide recognition as a ski destination, but today, the Swiss ski industry is facing demographic issues, with aging participants retiring and the younger generations less attracted to the sport, among both its domestic and foreign customer base. The number of Russian, Spanish and Asian customers has increased over the last few years, but this has not made up for an overall decline in its traditional foreign customer base. In the winter 2017/18 season, attendance figures rose by 10.3 percent compared with the previous season, and by 2.1 percent on a five-year average, but this improvement did not fully recover the 25 percent lost in skier visits over the last 10 years. The appreciation of the Swiss franc may have played a role.