“There is still a lot of unused potential near the existing mountain resorts in the Tatras where tourism and winter sports could be developed. More space and new localities could guarantee more comfort, better safety and last but not least, better prices for skiers,” said Bohuš Hlavatý, TMR CEO and the Chairman of the Board of Directors. The situation was so critical that ski passes for the Alpine Mölltaler glacier were cheaper than passes for Tatranská Lomnica and Štrbské Pleso at Christmas.
Although this winter is proving that the issue of snowmaking is becoming more and more challenging because many resorts hadn´t manage to produce enough snow in time and open all pistes, it is still traffic that causes most troubles, mainly the arrival of clients at resorts and also the capacity of car parks (as public and cableway transport is not sufficient).
“TMR has submitted several suggestions and plans regarding developing and improving of the quality of resorts but the still unclear conditions of tourism developing in the territory of the Tatra National Park and many other obstructions make it impossible for us to fulfill our intentions in near future. That is why price regulation seems to be the only way of handling the increasing number of clients. If we wish that the Tatras offer high-quality conditions also in a couple of years, traditional tourist resorts need a chance to talk about the development they need,” added Mr. Hlavatý.
Situation at individual mountain resorts in the Tatras:
TATRANSKÁ LOMNICA AND ŠTRBSKÉ PLESO
• After a few difficult years, the resorts in the High Tatras have managed to handle the high attendance of clients during the Christmas holidays at the end of 2018 smoothly – thanks to the new pricing policy. There were no big traffic jams, no traffic collapse. In spite of this fact, all car parks were absolutely occupied.
• Development projects: As for Tatranská Lomnica, TMR suggested restoring the former resort of Jamy. The project would include a new car park on the western edge of Tatranská Lomnica and a new Tatra electric railway stop. A project of a new cableway and a ski piste above the Botanical garden in Tatranská Lomnica, which was already approved in the past and would create another resort entrance point on the eastern edge of the town, has been submitted again. Both plans would extend the skiing offer in locations with a long skiing tradition. By creating two entrance resort points, the number of cars passing through the centre of Lomnica would decrease, which would reduce the risk of traffic jams.
• Development projects: As for Štrbské Pleso, the 1. Tatranská company has prepared a project which includes new ski pistes and “stretching” cableways as close to the central car park, railway station and bus station as possible. This would enable visitors to use public transport more and thus improve the traffic situation and help the environment.
• There is no adequate skiing offer in Starý Smokovec nowadays but it was the only resort in the Tatras where there were traffic jams during the Christmas holidays due to a high number of clients interested in the Tatra Temple of Ice. The Temple was visited by over 5,000 people per day, which is a way too much when considering the present-day infrastructure capacity of the resort.
• Development projects: TMR has been interested in restoring the skiing tradition in the settlements of Smokovce for long and would like to “create” a winter season in the locality which even hosted an Alpine Skiing World Cup in the past. The idea to connect the resort of Smokovce with the resort of Tatranská Lomnica was aimed to make both resorts more attractive and reduce the traffic between them. With a new resort built, skiers would spread in the Tatras during the season more. However, this plan is not relevant anymore because the territory in the area around Starý Smokovec has been considered of European significance without any grounded reason.
JASNÁ NÍZKE TATRY
• The attendance of the most visited Slovak ski resort – Jasná reached almost 100% of the resort capacity during the busiest three days of this year´s “golden week”. All facilities and cableways were operating at a maximum level but it is an insufficient snowmaking system which is the biggest problem of the resort. This is why not all ski pistes could be opened yet.
• Development projects: In Jasná, there is only one water tank which is enough to supply snow for 2 days at most. Then it is only surface water that can be used. However, this water flows very slowly and that is why it takes longer to open more pistes. A project of a new and bigger water tank was created 3 years ago but in order to build the tank, the local plan needs to be changed, which hasn´t been done yet.
TMR has submitted a suggestion regarding creating new ski piste no. 15 Luková – Otupné and a new cableway in the direction of Priehyba that skiers have been wishing for long but the project has been stagnating for several years. There is even the risk that due to various obstructions, its environmental impact will have to be evaluated once again from the beginning.
All the above mentioned projects could help the tourism in the Tatras, local inhabitants and this might have a positive impact on the region of the Tatras in general. If clients spread around a larger territory and at more localities, the numbers in individual resorts would decrease, which would guarantee more comfort and safety on the pistes, and last but not least also better prices. Traditional tourist resorts in the Tatras need space for a reasonable development that is needed.
Tatry mountain resorts, a.s. (TMR) is the leader in tourism in Central and Eastern Europe; it owns and operates attractive mountain resorts, amusement parks, restaurant facilities, sports services, shops and hotels. In the Low Tatras TMR owns and operates the resort Jasná Nízke Tatry and hotels Wellness hotel Grand Jasná, Boutique Hotel Tri Studničky, Chalets Jasná De Luxe, Hotel Srdiečko, and Hotel Rotunda. TMR is also the owner of Aquapark Tatralandia, the largest Slovak aquapark with year-round operation, which besides water entertainment includes Tropical Paradise, a special tropical indoor hall with sea water, as well as Fun Park, and accommodation in bungalows and apartments of Holiday Village Tatralandia. In the High Tatras TMR owns and operates the resort Vysoké Tatry with mountain areas of Tatranská Lomnica, Starý Smokovec, and Štrbské Pleso, which TMR co-manages. In the High Tatras TMR also owns hotels Grandhotel Praha Tatranská Lomnica, Grandhotel Starý Smokovec, Hotel FIS Štrbské Pleso and Mountain hotel Hrebienok. TMR also owns a 9.5 % share in Melida, a.s., which leases and operates the resort Špindlerův Mlýn in the Czech Republic. TMR also leases and operates the ski resort Ještěd. In Poland TMR owns a 97% share in the mountain resort Szczyrkowski Ośrodek Narciarski S.A. (SON), a 75% share in a company that owns and operates Silesian Amusement Park (Śląskie Wesołe Miasteczko) and a 7.3% share in an amusement-educational project via the Polish company Korona Ziemi Sp. z.o.o. TMR also owns and leases hotels Slovakia, Kosodrevina, Liptov and Ski&Fun Záhradky a Bungalovy to third parties. By the end of 2017, more than EUR 300 mil. had been invested into development and modernisation of TMR’s resorts. TMR shares are traded on three European stock exchanges – in Bratislava, Prague, and Warsaw.