Weak U.S. dollar makes Europeans flock to Winter Park | PostIndependent.com

Weak U.S. dollar makes Europeans flock to Winter Park

Katie Looby
Granby Correspondent
Glenwood Springs, Colorado

While the United States’ weakened dollar has kept some vacationers from leaving the country, it has also attracted international travelers into the country.

Officials say Grand County is reaping the benefits.

Darcy Morse, Winter Park Resort communications manager, said the resort has noticed more skiers from abroad.

More than a million skiers visit the resort annually. With three weeks left in the ski season, it’s still hard to tell if the numbers are higher than previous years. But one thing the resort does know ” where the visitors are coming from.

“International (marketing) has always been a huge focus,” Morse said. “Each year you try to do more.”

Winter Park targets skiers internationally by advertising and creating relations with wholesalers. It distributes brochures and press kits at regional and international press trips. It provides wholesalers with trail maps, videos, pictures and e-mails with resort updates.

“Given the value of the dollar, it’s certainly possible that there would be more international guests,” Morse said. “It’s more about constant communication with them.”

Skiers choose Winter Park Resort over other Colorado destinations because it is convenient, she said.

“(Winter Park) is 67 miles from Denver,” Morse said. “Essentially, someone could fly here and ski here the same day.”

She said international guests have said Winter Park is more skier-friendly than European destinations.

“(Europe is) much less focused on the guest experience,” she said. “I think it comes down to customer service.”

Lifts are more structured in the United States, she added.

Catherine Ross, Winter Park and Fraser Valley Chamber of Commerce executive director, said bookings show more international guests have visited Winter Park this ski season.

Tourists have spent record-breaking amounts, she said.

The Chamber measures revenues from the areas lodging and sales’ taxes. The ski season is still underway so tax totals haven’t been tallied yet, Ross said, but what she’s seen so far is positive.

“Their money’s worth a lot more, so they’re coming to the United States,” she said. “We’ve seen a positive trend in that direction. We’re reaping the benefits.”

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