Aspen Skiing Company looks to attract visitors from the Middle East and China |

Aspen Skiing Company looks to attract visitors from the Middle East and China

Erica Robbie
The Aspen Times

Aspen Skiing Co. has increased its efforts to reach the latest territory on its international radar: the Middle East.

For the first time in Skico’s history, the company sent a sales representative to Dubai this past summer, according to Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle.

Another international market Skico has its eyes on is China.

Skico has made multiple trips to China in recent years, Hanle said, adding that it’s taken on “greater urgency and importance” in the past two years.

Though both regions are “fairly new” to ski culture, there’s a very large potential market for the ski industry, Hanle said.

“Things in China have really changed and developed quickly,” he said. “Same with the Middle East. We watch where wealth is accumulating, and as those economies start to boom and people have more disposable income, they’re going to these brand-name, iconic destinations.

“And we want to make sure they know of Aspen-Snowmass when they do.”

While Hanle said these long-term strategies will take time, he said it is crucial to get the brand out there as early as possible.

“When it develops — if it develops — we want to have our foot in the door,” Hanle said. “With any of these developing international markets — whether it’s the Middle East, China or any place like that — we’ve got to get in there early, have our resort name out there and be ready when the market is ready.”

While last year was Skico’s best year ever for international visitation, Hanle said the strength of the U.S. dollar is a major headwind for U.S. tourism this year.

“It’s going to be a challenge to stay on par with last year because of the strength of the dollar,” Hanle said, adding that this year will take more creativity and work.

“We’ve got to get creative with promotions, packages, look to fill any gaps where we can to make up for any potential loss and make it more attractive for those international visitors to come,” he said.

China and the Middle East aside, Hanle said Skico has sales representatives “scattered around the globe,” especially in some of its top international markets, including Australia, Brazil, Mexico, Canada and Europe.