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Jul 25, 2011, 19:06

In terms of ski pass revenues, most second home owners bring friends with them to the village on numerous trips throughout the ski season. Those friends buy ski passes for the duration of their stay in the village, which directly injects capital into the lift system. Second home owners additionally provide regular support over the course of the year to shops and restaurants within the village, without which many of those enterprises would not survive.
The loss of hotel beds in concerning. However at present lack of demand for hotel beds is likely to be largely due to the strength of the Swiss franc against other currencies (in January 2008 the rate was CHF2.40 to the British Pound, it is now CHF1.30). In order to compete with other resorts inside and outside Switzerland Les Diablerets ultimately requires investment in the form of a very high quality 5 star hotel and spa. This would bring in a different kind of visitor who would spend a great deal of money in the village and who would be less affected by the state of both the World and the Swiss economy, which is outside the control of the regional government. The ski area is excellent but during such grave economic times to see the closure of the telecabine would likely be a blow from which the village would never recover. Not only would this see a loss of hotel beds but also a mass exodus of second home owners who currently support the village economy. A Les Mosses scenario is by no means out of the question if the telecabine is not replaced.
In terms of government support, the local authorities must be aware of the significant tax revenues that are raised from second home owners in the village, taxes that have risen very significantly in recent years. This money must be reinvested in the infrastructure of Les Diablerets, including the Isenau telecabine, which is vital to the village's economy and its future survival.
Incidentally, the original scheme, to extend the telecabine to Pillon, would have propelled the village to a different level of attraction as a resort, as it would have linked the village by lift with skiing at 3000 metres. This would in and of itself have placed the village in a position where it would have had the prospects to obtain the necessary funding to build new hotels etc. Those who objected to this scheme must be answerable to the rest of the village's residents, primary and secondary, in terms of the effect that blocking that scheme may now have on the future of the resort. To the extent possible the viability of the original scheme should be revisited.
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