- A few Russian tourists have visited the alpine ski resorts of Courchevel amid the Ukraine war.
- The ski school is feeling their absence so badly that 90% of its Russian clients have canceled reservations.
- The Ski5 Star owner told Insider he’s not hopeful about Russian bookings next year either.
The owner of a ski school in the French Alps resort of Courchevel says the majority of his high-profile Russian clients have canceled bookings as a result of the Ukraine war.
Filippo Cascacia from Ski 5 StarA private ski instructor and concierge service, said his company is popular with Russian oligarchs and wealthy Arabs, including the royal family of the latter country.
Casascia said the business was consistent before the war. But then his Russian agents were subjected to sanctions. He told Insider that his ski school saw a 90% cancellation rate from its Russian clients as a result.
Casaccia says his company was saved, however, by his wealthy Arab clientele. “We were lucky because we are still working with the Arabs to compensate the missing Russians,” he added.
Wealthy Russians have appeared in the desert of luxury ski resorts in the Alps since Russia invaded Ukraine. Their disappearance, especially in the special Courchevel 1850 district High-end chalet operators concerned. One told Insider there was a notable absence of orders next year from Russians, who tend to book more expensive properties, which can cost up to $250,000 a week.
The five-star hotels of Courchevel also felt the impact of the lack of Russian visitors. Head reservations at Six Senses Residence & Spa, Angela Lavander told Insider that all of her high-spending Russian guests have converted their deposits for use in the next ski season after the outbreak of the war.
Some Russians even struggled to pay their hotel bills, according to Kasachia. He said some hotel employees in Courchevel he knew had reported at least $1 million in bills owed from Russian customers.
Russian oligarchs reported their difficulties in the face of Western sanctions. Punished oligarch Peter Avene He told the Financial Times last month that he was struggling to pay the bills and “didn’t understand how to live” amid the sanctions imposed on him.
In the case of Casaccia, his Russian customers gave very general reasons for cancellation. He added that there were no Russian reservations for next year and that he and his team were “not positive” about the outlook. “I think it will take more than a year for them to come back,” he said. The situation will not stabilize by next winter.”
In the absence of wealthy Russian clients, Casaccia said his team will be working to expand their client base, focusing on building relationships with the recent influx of Brazilian clients.
“We discovered a lot of Brazilians this winter because they couldn’t go to America because of it COVID-19 regulationsCasacia said he expects more Brazilians to arrive next year.