Visitor rise boosts Disneyland Paris

Euro Disney, which runs the Disneyland Paris theme park, said on Tuesday that its sales rose 4.0 percent to €358 million ($444 million) in the quarter ending in June thanks to a rise in visitors and their spending.

In the first nine months of its financial year that ends in September 2012, the company's sales rose 2.3 percent to €908.8 million.

"Despite the general wait-and-see consumer behavior, we believe the third quarter performance marks an encouraging trend," chief executive Philippe Gas
was quoted as saying in a statement.

He expressed confidence the commitment of employees and the attractiveness of Disneyland Paris, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary, would continue
to generate growth but made no projections about annual results.

In May, Euro Disney reported a 22-percent increase in its net loss for the first half of its financial year at €100.8 million and warned it might have to take cost-cutting action. At that point sales were down one percent at €552.4 million.

Sales at the theme parks in the three months to June rose by 6.0 percent to €207.8 million, with the number of visitors up by 2.0 percent and spending per visitor increasing by 3.0 percent.

Hotels and restaurants outside the park saw sales rise 1.0 percent to €138.6 million, with a rise in room prices counterbalanced by a drop in occupancy rates, especially by Spanish and Dutch visitors.

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Tourism minister: Book your French ski holiday now

France’s ski resorts will be open for business this winter, tourism minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne has promised - but no decision has yet been taken on whether a health pass will be required to use ski lifts.

Skiers at a French Alpine resort
Photo: Philippe Desmazes / AFP

“This winter, it’s open, the resorts are open,” Lemoyne told France 2’s 4 Vérités programme.

“Compared to last year, we have the vaccine,” he said, adding that he would “invite those who have not yet done so to [book], because … there will soon be no more room.”

And he promised an answer ‘in the next few days’ to the question of whether health passes would be required for winter holidaymakers to use ski lifts. “Discussions are underway with the professionals,” he said.

The stakes are high: the closure of ski lifts last winter cost manufacturers and ski shops nearly a billion euros. 

This year ski lifts will remain open, but a health pass may be necessary to access them. The health pass is already compulsory for après ski activities such as visits to bars, cafés and restaurants.

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Many town halls and communities which depend on winter sports have found it difficult or impossible to make ends meet.

“It’s time for the French mountains to revive,” Lemoyne said, pointing to the fact that the government has provided “more than €6 billion” in aid to the sector.

Winter tourism professionals, however, have said that they are struggling to recruit for the winter season.

“Restaurant and bars are very affected,” by the recruitment crisis, one expert told Franceinfo, blaming a lack of urgency from authorities towards the winter holiday industry.

“We are all asking ourselves what we should do tomorrow to find full employment in the resort,” the expert added.

Post-Brexit visa and work permit rules mean that ski businesses have found it difficult to recruit Brits for short-term, seasonal positions.