Brazilians booking ski trips | AspenTimes.com

Brazilians booking ski trips

Janet Urquhart

The Brazilians are calling.Incoming calls to Stay Aspen Snowmass, a local reservations agency, are originating in the South American country with unprecedented frequency lately. Brazilians are booking their ski trips.”Brazil’s just going crazy,” said Bill Tomcich, the agency’s president. Usually, New York is the No. 1 market booking through Stay Aspen Snowmass, and Florida is No. 2. “Brazil has leapfrogged them all,” he said.A favorable exchange rate for Brazilians right now is fueling the frenzy, but the calls to Stay Aspen Snowmass don’t reflect a big shakeup in the makeup of Aspen/Snowmass guests, according to Kris McKinnon, managing director of worldwide sales for the Aspen Skiing Co.For one thing, the reservations agency handles only a small percentage of overall bookings – about 6 percent. And, Stay Aspen Snowmass has a native speaker of Portugese on staff, making it a popular choice among Brazlians who want to book a trip.Brazil’s currency, the real, is up some 20 to 25 percent against the dollar, compared to this time last year, according to McKinnon. As a result, travelers are booking trips and paying for them now.”The Brazil phenomenon is largely due to an exchange rate situation,” she said.It’s still far too early to judge how the resort’s international business will shape up this winter, but Brazilians will not outnumber New Yorkers in Aspen, McKinnon said.International travelers make up roughly 15 to 20 percent of the resort’s overall destination guests and Australia/New Zealand remains the top foreign market, followed by the United Kingdom and then Brazil, she said. Germany, Mexico and Canada follow close behind.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com

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