The much-loved ski-resort for ME visitors
Alexia Laine, Acting Director, Courchevel Tourism, shares with TRAVTALK , the ski destination which over the years has become a firm favourite among the UAE and Saudi Arabian travellers. Since the Middle East is a key source market for Courchevel Tourism, Laine also talks about what makes them a family oriented unique destination, most suited for the clientele from the region.
How important is the Middle East or GCC market for Courchevel?
The Middle East is an extremely important market for Courchevel, and we are thrilled to welcome increasing numbers of skiers and non-skiers from across the region year on year. There are many elements that come together to make Courchevel a firm favourite among the region’s travellers, not least its reputation for the high-quality and consistency of its snow, the versatility of its terrain and its enviably glamorous feel – with over 16 per cent of all international visitors in the 2021/ 2022 season coming from the Middle East, a large proportion of which – 10.5 per cent – come from the UAE, followed by 2.7 per cent from Saudi Arabia.
How do you define luxury at Courchevel?
Courchevel is first and foremost a ski resort, a winter wonderland in the heart of the Alps. It forms part of Les Trois Vallées (The Three Valleys) – the largest lift-linked ski area in the world – which encompasses some 600km of slopes, with over 180 green-blue ski runs and 140-plus red-black runs.
Courchevel itself is made up of six linked villages and 150km of majestic, impeccably groomed slopes set against a backdrop of incredible mountain scenery. A mix of green, blue, red and black runs and a family-focused snow park ensure that the resort offers something for all ages and abilities, while a seamless and speedy lift system makes navigating the area simple – combined with a unique French ‘Art de vivre’, has enabled Courchevel to attract a broad range of international clientele.
While it is fair to say that the villages provide a wealth of choice when it comes to accommodation and dining, the exceptional quality and concentration of refined luxury offerings has helped Courchevel to carve out an incomparable position and secured the resort’s credentials as one of the finest skiing destinations on the planet and a true bucket list destination.
In terms of luxury accommodation, Courchevel offers the whole spectrum – from cosy mountain chalets with glacier views and sleek, stylish apartments to high-end global and boutique hotel brands – and we are proud to be home to five hotels that have achieved the supreme distinction of being accepted into the select fold of French hotels with the right to call themselves a palace.
Courchevel’s reputation for gastronomy is also world renowned, with plenty for the discerning foodie to enjoy too!
Are there specialized offerings or experiences more suited for GCC/ ME travellers?
On the practical side, having welcomed visitors from the Middle East for many years now, the various establishments in Courchevel are well versed in catering to the specific needs of travelers from the Middle East, whether it be providing Halal menus or tailoring individual activities. Ultimately, the reason people come to Courchevel from the Middle East is the same that people come from the rest of the world, and that’s to experience its sheer beauty and experience its unrivalled amenities mean there is always something to do for the whole family.
What will be your marketing initiatives to work with travel agents/ travel curators from the Middle East?
We had a really successful visit to the region back in November, visiting trade in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and we plan to repeat this annually moving forwards to take in different cities, different countries. We were blown away with the response and it has further reinforced the important role that the region plays in our long-term plans, as well as providing some valuable insights which we will look to incorporate into our future plans. Looking ahead, we will continue to host an annual roadshow each year ahead of the new season, with a series of meetings and immersive events, culminating with a special gala dinner. We find this face-to-face approach works particularly well in the Middle East.