We now know how much the first 12 months of the Covid-19 pandemic impacted the tourism-reliant Doppelmayr Garaventa Group. Revenue declined 12.5 percent to €763 million ($891 million) for the 2020/21 fiscal year, which began concurrently with pandemic lockdowns and ran through March of this year. “Tourism in particular took a major global hit,” said Thomas Pichler, managing director of Doppelmayr Holding SE in the company’s annual report. “The uncertainties our customers were confronted with led to a slump in contracts and the postponement of calls to tender and orders throughout the ropeway industry. The repercussions will continue to make themselves felt in the next few years.”
Doppelmayr Garaventa downsized its global workforce by about 200 employees during the fiscal year. “In spite of all our efforts to absorb the financial fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic, we had to adjust personnel levels in line with the changed circumstances last fall,” said Pichler. “That was a painful but unfortunately necessary step. We are well equipped for the next few years with a committed team who stand by our customers with a solution-focused mindset.”
Even though sales reached the lowest level in nine years, the firm celebrated some major successes. For the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, its teams built nine installations in the new ski resort of Yanqing. A gondola in Zermatt became the first autonomous ropeway in Switzerland and the trailblazing Eiger Express 3S opened last December. A large urban D-Line system was also completed in Mexico City.
In United States and Canada, Doppelmayr completed 10 ropeways in calendar year 2020, down from 25 the year before. The two countries accounted for 13 percent of global revenue, a decrease from 17 percent in 2019/20. As readers of this blog know, the three largest North American resort operators postponed all their lift projects while many independent operators continued forward with theirs. This year most of Alterra, Vail and Boyne’s postponed projects are being completed and Doppelmayr’s US/Canada project count will reach at least 17 for 2021.
Despite setbacks, Doppelmayr sees reason for optimism with particular strength emerging in two markets. “Our customers in Asia and North America are investing and setting course for a successful future with cutting-edge ropeway infrastructure from Doppelmayr,” notes the report. “We are therefore looking to the future with confidence and continuing to pursue our goal of working with our customers to build the best ropeways in the world. Global tourism will recover and people will once again experience unforgettable moments in the mountains and other special places.”