Catalan ski resorts 'very optimistic' after busy festive period
Tens of thousands were drawn to the Lleida and Girona Pyrenees over Christmas, with snowfalls forecast in coming days
Ski resorts in the Catalan Pyrenees face the new year with optimism after a positive start to the season at the end of last year, which continued over the festive period.
The resorts in the western Lleida region sold a total of 213,000 ski passes over the 12 days of Christmas and New Year, with hotel occupancy rates rising to 95% on the busiest days.
Meanwhile, the resorts in the Girona region also had a busy holiday period, with a lack of snow in the French Pyrenees bringing in more people than usual from France.
The 237,000 passes sold over the festive period in Lleida, if the three days leading up to Christmas Day are included, account for over 17% of the 1.35-million objective for the season.
The Lleida tourist office expressed satisfaction on how the festive period went, reporting more than 230,000 overnight stays, with an economic boost for the region worth 46 million euros.
The busiest days for Lleida over the holiday period were between December 27 and January 1. Yet not all visitors came to ski or snowboard, as many also took advantage of the services of the 122 local companies offering other mountain activities.
"Significant" numbers in Girona
As for the Girona region, its resorts described the numbers of people coming to take part in the various winter activities they offer as "significant."
The Masella, Molina and Vallter 2000 resorts all reported that the fine weather over the festive period drew more visitors, despite the lack of snowfall, especially in France, which they compensated for with artificial snow.
The resorts say they are now "very optimistic" about the next few months, especially with a cold front and snowfall forecast for the coming days.
"The truth is that a good snowfall will be really good for us, especially because Easter falls quite late this year and we want to take advantage," said Xavi Perpinyà, from the Molina resort.