Vail named No.3 resort for international skiers
VAIL — In a recent list released by travel website TripAdvisor, Vail ranked No. 3 among the most visited U.S. ski destinations for international travelers.
Other Vail Valley locales were also on the list, with Avon at No. 9 and Beaver Creek at No. 16. The top two spots were taken by Park City and Breckenridge, respectively. See the full list at TripAdvisor’s vacation rentals blog at http://www.tripadvisor.com/VacationRentalsBlog/2015/11/03/21-us -ski-destinations-popular-internationals/
The list was compiled by home rental data from TripAdvisor that analyzed U.S. vacation home interest from international travelers, for the months of December through February. There were few unexpected destinations for such a list — except Gatlinburg, Tennessee at No. 13, maybe — but the bigger surprise was where the international visitors were coming from.
Vail’s top international demographics were Argentina and Mexico (each taking up 16 percent of international visits), Australia (15 percent), Peru (8 percent) and Brazil (7 percent). Beaver Creek’s results also curiously showed a large group of South African and Costa Rican visitors (7 percent and 6 percent).
The Vail Valley Partnership’s Chris Romer says it’s no secret that Vail has a big international market, and that most of those visitors come from Latin America.
“It’s a big part of winter business, and getting to be a bigger part of summer business. That does not surprise me at all that Vail and Park City are in the top 3,” he said.
Both locations received international recognition thanks to major events in the past years, Romer said. Park City hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics and Vail hosted the 2015 World Alpine Ski Championships.
The high number of visitors from Latin American correlates with other market data. Mexico City continues to be the strongest connect city to the Eagle County Airport, making up about 6 percent of overall traffic to the Vail flight market. Vail Resorts also markets heavily there, and offers nightclub experience events such as Decimo on Vail Mountain, aimed heavily at the Latin American market.
Most recently, the Vail Centre announced that it will continue a partnership with the Mexican Office of Economic Development & International Trade and the Mexican Consulate in Denver. The education center plans to host a forum for Mexican and Colorado leaders, with support from the town of Vail.
As for Peruvian, South African and Costa Rican visitors, Romer says none of the Vail Valley Partnership’s data indicates they’re a big part of the international market. It’s nice PR to be on such a list, but he cautioned against reading too much into it.
“TripAdvisor obviously has huge credibility, and it’s great to be aligned with a brand like that,” Romer said. “However, I’m not sure about the details of the data, and while the top destinations all probably should be on there, I’m not so sure we should be so concerned with the actual rankings. It’s nice to be included, though.”
Assistant Managing Editor Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2927 and at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @mwongvail.
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