Alps is the world’s largest market of ski tourism. According to estimates Laurent Wanat, founder of Swiss consulting company Laurent Vanat Consulting SARL, for the region in 2017 had 150 million visits — that’s 43% of all visits to winter resorts in the world.

Alpine Chalet and apartment with mountain views is not only a luxury but also a profitable investment if their owners are willing to rent property to rent to tourists. There is a special type of objects — the real tourist destination is an apartment with hotel services, rental of which organize professional operators. The owner of such property can take the object out permanently or several months a year. There are two control schemes for such objects:

  • Rental pool — the fee of the management company (about 30 %) is deducted from the amount of income from the lease of the residential complex, and the profit is divided between the owners in proportion to their participation.
  • Guarantee of lease — the management company rents apartments from the investor for a limited period. In this case, the property owner receives a smaller payout, but the management company takes on the risk associated with finding tenants.
  • The extension of the season and the change of generations of tourists

    The growth of interest in investing in the Alpine real estate is due to new trends at local resorts. The main one is the extension of the tourist season. Alpine resorts develop the infrastructure for training is now not only winter but also summer sports: Hiking, climbing, paragliding and sailing, equipped with trails for Hiking and mountain Biking.

    The Zeller see lake, a picturesque schmittenhöhe and the only one in the state of Salzburg, the Kitzsteinhorn glacier make the Austrian resort of Zell am see – Kaprun are popular at any time of the year Photo: Ian Schreiber

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    Another important trend is the change of generations of tourists. Europe’s population is ageing, leading, on the one hand, to reduce the total number of skiers, and on the other to the rising popularity of less active sports, such as tobogganing or walking. In parallel, an increasing number of tourists of the millennial generation (age 20-35 years), financially secure and often prefer to book the whole house or apartment for the weekend instead of overnight at the hotel.

    Alpine real estate markets

    Austria, Italy, France and Switzerland — the four largest players in the international market of ski resorts in the Alps

    Swiss Engadin St. Moritz holds the top most expensive resort in the region. Here are the high property prices in the Alps: the cost per square meter is 20 thousand euros. At the same time, Switzerland is experiencing a decline of interest in its winter resorts, according to the estimates of Laurent Vanata, for 10 years, from 2006 to 2016, the total number of visits decreased by 1.5 million, and the share of foreign visitors to 46 %.

    In recent years, foreign tourists increasingly prefer Switzerland of equal quality, but less expensive resorts in Austria Photo: Ian Schreiber

    A feature of the market of ski resorts in France — focus on domestic tourism. Foreign tourists make up only 31% of the total number of guests. In the winter season 2015-2016 France had 52 million visits, 3.5% less than the season before. At the local real estate market more tourism resorts where guests rent the whole apartment than hotels. The price per square meter reach 18 thousand euros. British buyers are the key French real estate market, and it is unknown how the fall of the British pound will affect France in the winter season 2017-2018.

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    Ski resorts in Northern Italy is also focused mainly on local tourists. In the winter season 2015-2016 Italian resorts visited by approximately 24.6 million times, and only 35 % of the tourists came from abroad.

    Austria: while the prices are a third below the regional average

    Although the winter season 2015-2016 Austrian resorts visited by 3% less guests than in the previous year, the proportion of foreigners is growing — according to Laurent Vanata, they make up 66 % of the total number of tourists. Almost half of them coming from Germany, many guests from the Netherlands and the UK. Austria is investing heavily in its resorts: since 2000, the ski infrastructure has been invested more than 7 billion euros.

    Great location at middle altitudes (about 800 – 2,000 metres) allows the majority of Austrian resorts to receive tourists all year round, as are the Alpine resorts of France like Val d’isère and La Plagne resorts are closed for the summer due to cold weather at altitude.

    Tauplitz is one of the numerous Alpine ski resorts in Austria open to tourists all year round Photo: Ian Schreiber

    «At the same as of the real estate prices in Austria about 28 % below the average level over the Alps. But they will not remain at this level for a long time»,— stated in the study of Austrian Business Environment Consulting (BEC) «real Estate tourist destination for leisure and leasing», (2017). According to estimates by the Swiss financial holding company, UBS Group, for 2017 square meter rose more than anything in the resort of St. Anton am Arlberg (8,2 %), while the resorts of the Wildkogel – arena and Zell am see– Kaprun showed an increase of 4 %.

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    According to UBS, from 2014 to 2017 property prices in the Austrian Alps has grown on average by 3.5 percent more than in the Alpine region of France (2,5 %), Switzerland and Italy (where prices in this period fell annually by 1% and 3 %, respectively).

    Austrian resorts that are actively investing in the infrastructure that represent the greatest potential for investors over the next 10-20 years:

    • Sankt Anton am Arlberg (Vorarlberg province) — from 2017 the track of the resort among the five largest ski runs in the world (more than 300 km);
    • Pitztal (Tirol) — the planned unification of trails Pittala and sölden will make the resort the largest in Europe by region for summer and autumn riding;
    • The Saalbach – Hinterglemm – Leogang (province of Salzburg) — after the recent merger with slopes of Fieberbrunn (Tirol) ski resort has become one of the largest in Austria (270 km connected ski slopes);
    • Resort Wildkogel (towns of Neukirchen and Bramberg in Salzburg) — up to 2030 it is planned to unite lifts, Kitzbühel (Tirol), one of the most expensive and luxurious resorts in Austria.

    Anna Danilec, Tranio

    The material is prepared for lenta.ru