According to Reuters, recently, the question of whether to ban ski resorts during the epidemic has attracted attention in European countries.
However, when France, Germany, Italy and other countries decided to ban skiing and related catering and entertainment activities, Switzerland chose to “fly alone” and open ski resorts, which aroused the jealousy of the ski industry in neighboring countries.
On December 1, 2020, local time, the town of Chatel in Haute-Savoy, France, expressed dissatisfaction with the government’s decision to close the ski resort, and withdrew the French flag in front of the city hall and replaced it with eight Swiss flags in protest.
The town of Châtel is located in the northern Alps of France, near the French and Swiss border. It has about 1,200 residents. It is a famous ski resort in France, especially part of Portes du Soleil, one of the largest transnational ski resorts in the world. Sungate ski resort spans Switzerland and France, with 196 cable cars and 286 snow tracks in eight French resorts and four Swiss resorts.
Skiing tourism is the main industry of the town, especially during the Christmas holiday, and the arrival of a large number of tourists is one of the important sources of the town’s economy.
However, due to the coronavirus epidemic, the French government has called for a European-wide ban on winter sports venues from opening during the Christmas holiday to avoid a third wave of the novel coronavirus.
On November 24, French President Emmarcron announced that French winter sports venues would not be open until the end of this year, and the government has communicated with operators that it is “not likely to reopen for the festival at the end of the year”, but may reopen in January next year after the epidemic eases and in coordination with other European countries. .
Not long ago, German Chancellor Merkel also called for the closure of ski resorts to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte also warned citizens not to ski this holiday. Ski resorts in many parts of the two countries will also be closed until the end of this year.
But under the “lure” of the huge passenger flow during the Christmas season, not all European countries are willing to close ski resorts.
Austrian Finance Minister Gernot Bluemel said recently that if the ski industry is closed, Europe may lose up to 2 billion euros, which he believes should be made up by the European Union.
Swiss Health Minister Alain Berset also said on Thursday: “In Switzerland, we can ski and have relevant protection plans. We are a sovereign country, so we can decide what to do on our own territory.”
It is understood that the ski season brings billions of dollars in revenue to the economies of Austria and Switzerland every year.
Moreover, ski resorts in Switzerland also hope to take advantage of the closure of French resorts and the opening of borders to attract skiers from neighboring countries to Switzerland for consumption. A ski resort in the canton of Valais, Switzerland, even provides shuttle bus service to French skiers at the border, and the cost of bus service will be included in the ski pass price of Swiss resorts.
“We plan to arrange buses to pick up skiers from Shatelle and other nearby resorts in France,” said Enrique Caballero, director of the Sungate ski area in Switzerland.
Cavariero also specifically pointed out: “We have no intention to base happiness on the misfortunes of others. Our main goal is to absorb some skiers during the holiday season to help our French neighbors.”
“But if that brings about a balance of income throughout the winter, it’s even better!” He stressed that this is a win-win plan.
Due to the government’s ban, the resort in the French town of Châtel will be closed, but the Swiss part will remain open.
Seeing the loss of ski tourists to Switzerland and the embarrassing situation of not opening businesses, Nicolas Rubin, the mayor of Châtel, expressed his anger on Twitter on November 28, “due to the lack of advice, lack of consultation and early decisions, France The decision was made to close its ski resorts, and the neighboring countries took the opposite approach.”
The town’s mayor also replaced the French flag outside the city hall with the Swiss flag in protest of the French government’s decision to insist on closing the ski resort.” Châtel’s city hall will be symbolically decorated with Swiss colors,” Nicholas tweeted. Ski practitioners in Haute Sava Province also organized a march on the same day.
Regarding Switzerland’s decision, Christophe Darbellay, chairman of the Swiss Council of State of Valais, explained to the media that this move should not be regarded as a “provocation to the French government”.
Christophe said: “We welcome foreign tourists differently from actively looking for foreign tourists.” He noted that the bus service “is not intended to recruit customers in France, but just to avoid congestion in parking lots in ski areas.”
In the face of Switzerland’s continued opening of ski resorts, French President Macron announced after a meeting with Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Cro on Tuesday that France will take measures to restrict people’s access to ski resorts in Switzerland to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
“If some countries keep ski resorts open, then we’ll have to take control measures.” Macron said.
According to the official data released by the French government on the evening of December 2, the cumulative number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in France is 22,244,635, an increase of 14,064 over the previous day, and the cumulative number of deaths is 53,816, an increase of 310 over the previous day.