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1 November 2011 Winter Tourism, Climate Change, and Snowmaking in the Swiss Alps: Tourists' Attitudes and Regional Economic Impacts
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Technical snowmaking has become an important measure in winter tourism destinations to deal with decreasing snow reliability, seasonal weather variability, and growing customer demand. This study analyzes tourists' attitudes toward technical snowmaking, their preferences for snow reliability, and other factors that influence destination choice. We interviewed tourists at 3 Swiss winter tourism destinations: Davos, Scuol, and Braunwald. In addition, we analyzed the impact of technical snowmaking on the regional economy in Davos with a scenario analysis based on a simplified model of the regional economy related to tourist behavior. The 3 destinations showed large regional and seasonal differences in tourists' attitudes toward technical snowmaking and the importance of factors that influence destination choice. Generally, technical snowmaking is being increasingly accepted among tourists. It can be considered as insurance for snow reliability. In major tourist destinations that focus on skiing for winter tourism, the potential damage to mountain railways and hotels from lack of snow can be great enough to justify the costs of technical snowmaking. But snow reliability is not the most crucial factor that affects the attractiveness of destinations in general. Our results show that the European Alpine landscape and a wide choice of activities in the winter as well as the summer season are the most important factors that influence destination choice. In some cases, therefore, it may be economically reasonable to refrain from technical snowmaking and redirect investment to tourist attractions independent of snow conditions.

Marco Pütz, David Gallati, Susanne Kytzia, Hans Elsasser, Corina Lardelli, Michaela Teich, Fabian Waltert, and Christian Rixen "Winter Tourism, Climate Change, and Snowmaking in the Swiss Alps: Tourists' Attitudes and Regional Economic Impacts," Mountain Research and Development 31(4), 357-362, (1 November 2011).
Received: 1 July 2011; Accepted: 1 August 2011; Published: 1 November 2011

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