Independent v Tour Operator

Hints and tips on how to make your choice.

Perhaps the biggest change the ski industry has undergone in the past decade or so has been the rise of the independent skier.

However with the economic downturn they are on the wane.

The cost of going it alone has risen in the past few years since the economic downturn in 2008 and the tour operators have fought back offering substantial savings and discounts.

The budget airlines and no longer quite that budget, more like no-frills, and the other airlines have reduced their prices to compete.

At its height in 2007/08 the indepedent market was estimated at almost 400,000 people who made their own arrangements and avoided using a tour operator.

That was about 1/3rd of the total British snowsports market.

Now it has fallen back sharply.

According to the latest Crystal Ski Industry for the 2010/11 season it has gone down to just over 280,000.

See the full industry report here.

Things have changed with the tour operators responding and, with the cost/hassle of independent travel increasing, the package holiday is fighting back.

See this news story from a PlanetSKI reader as a group of friends looked at the two options back in 2010.

The exact prices are old but the principles remain the same.

Back in November 2008 we said this on PlanetSKi as we launched out first guide on whether to opt for a tour operator or go solo;

“One of our predictions here at PlanetSKI is that over the next few years the package holiday will make a bit of a comeback. No real evidence, just a gut feeling from talking to skiers, boarders and the movers and shakers in the ski industry”.  We reckon we have been proved correct.

However there are still some distinict advantages and by no means rule out arranging your own trip.

So which should you choose?

Take a look at our collection of guides and we hope it’ll help you make your mind up.