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Skiing or hiking: Saxony well booked before the winter vacations

Winter sports enthusiasts sit in a lift with their skis above the clouds against the backdrop of the 1243-meter-high Keilberg and ride to the summit of the Fichtelberg / Photo: Hendrik Schmidt/dpa
Winter sports enthusiasts sit in a lift with their skis above the clouds against the backdrop of the 1243-meter-high Keilberg and ride to the summit of the Fichtelberg / Photo: Hendrik Schmidt/dpa

The winter vacations are about to start and the tourism industry in Saxony is reporting many bookings. The winter sports resorts want to offer an all-round program - even with a lack of snow.

Although the snow has currently retreated to the peaks of Saxony's low mountain ranges, the winter sports resorts in the Free State are still delighted with the large number of bookings at the start of the vacation season. Accommodation is well booked in most places, said Axel Klein, Managing Director of the Saxony Hotel and Restaurant Association.

Guests from Berlin and Brandenburg are particularly well represented. The winter vacations begin there this weekend. "They are our main target group and seem to enjoy spending their winter vacation in Saxony's low mountain regions."

The resorts have continued to invest in order to entertain visitors even when there is a lack of snow. "Hotels have come up with programs especially for children," said Klein. The offers ranged from pony rides and cooking courses to "magic carpets" - conveyor belts on the ski slopes that can be used to transport the little ones.

Winter sports continue to be of great importance for tourism in Saxony, said Veronika Hiebl, head of Tourismus Marketing Gesellschaft Sachsen (TMGS). "We have not seen a serious shift in bookings away from winter destinations towards the cities during the winter season." From the Advent period through the turn of the year to the winter vacations, Saxony's winter sports regions are in high demand. "However, the fact is that climate change is also making itself felt here," says Hiebl. All tourism regions would therefore supplement their offers with winter hiking trails, winter hiking weeks and wellness in spas and baths.

The accommodation in the Erzgebirge winter sports centers Altenberg and Oberwiesenthal are very well booked in the weeks of the winter vacations, said Claudia Brödner from the Erzgebirge Tourism Association. "There are only a few free capacities for families." Accommodation is still available outside of the centers and with access to the winter sports resorts. Guests have booked their winter vacations earlier again, some as early as last fall or even earlier. "Most holidaymakers who spend their winter vacation in our region are dedicated to classic winter sports." Alpine skiing, snowboarding and cross-country skiing are very popular. "That's why we hope that winter won't completely run out of steam yet," said Brödner.

The Vogtland region is also looking forward to a "good to very good booking situation" during the winter vacations, said Andreas Kraus, Managing Director of the Vogtland Tourism Association. A trend towards very short-term booking behavior can still be observed here. Winter hikes, open ice rinks and special exhibitions in the Vogtland museums should help when there is a lack of snow. Hikes with alpacas are also popular with families.

After the thaw, tourism experts in Upper Lusatia point to alternatives to winter sports. "The Zittau Mountains offer many opportunities for winter hiking," said Sophie Nücklich from the Marketing-Gesellschaft Oberlausitz-Niederschlesien. A trip to the stone zoo in the Zittau Mountains is particularly popular with families: "Here you can see rock formations that are reminiscent of animals."

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