The new cable cars in Hoch-Imst are a real crowd puller. In the first summer after the new construction of the facilities, the Imster Bergbahnen recorded a veritable rush of guests.
For those responsible, an absolute record season comes to an end. Compared to the previous record summer of 2019 - i.e. a year before the outbreak of the pandemic - there was a significant increase in passengers and sales this year. An increase of more than 20% in so-called first-time admissions – those people who have bought a ticket – is recorded. Sales increased by 27% over the same period.
“The modern 10-seater gondola lifts open up completely new groups of guests as a means of transport. Many older people, but also young families with prams and small children, have the opportunity to enjoy the attractive mountains in Hoch-Imst in comfort and weather-safety,” says Bernhard Schöpf happily. The managing director of Imster Bergbahnen emphasizes that the company was convinced from the start of planning that gondolas were the best way to meet customers' wishes.
"However, at the end of the first summer, such success figures are a very nice confirmation of the path we have taken," explains Schöpf. The Alpine Coaster Imst has once again proven to be an absolute hit. In the 19th year of its existence, the "longest alpine roller coaster in the world" was again able to increase the number of passengers. From around 116,000 in the last regular pre-pandemic summer of 2019 to 123,000 guests in summer 2022.
Mayor Weirather: "New building project 100% successful"
The mayor of Imst, Stefan Weirather, chairman of the supervisory board of the Imster Bergbahnen, gave the new building project the certificate "100% successful". "Before the renovation of the aging lifts, there were intensive discussions as to whether an investment of around 21 million euros was justified. The latest figures prove that the decision in favor of the quality solution with the 10-seater gondola lifts was absolutely the right one. We have thus created an attractive leisure infrastructure for the local population in Hoch-Imst. In combination with the coaster, the huts and the hiking offer, the new cable cars also attract many guests from the surrounding holiday regions," explains the city manager as representative of the majority shareholder. Also gratifying for the owners of the city and Imst Tourismus: In a phase of significant price increases, the budgeted construction costs have been met almost exactly. "It doesn't get much better than that," emphasizes Weirather.
"New track perfectly suited for all guests"
Martin Winkler, innkeeper at the UAlm and board member at Imst Tourismus, also draws a positive balance after the first summer with the new cable cars: "The new gondolas are the best thing that could have happened to the entire region. The spacious and comfortable cabins prove to be an asset for all classes of guests. And that in all weather conditions.” As a hut host, the gondola lift is the ideal feeder for him: “The frequency has noticeably increased. Even during the week and on rainy days. Cancellations due to bad weather are a thing of the past," says Winkler, for whom the summer is one of the strongest in sales, also thanks to an increased demand for celebrations, company incentives and seminars. For him, things are moving on after the long season: The kitchen is currently being enlarged and modernized with an extension.
Energy Cost Rise: Savings and Price Increases
The Imster Bergbahnen now generate significantly more than half of their turnover in the summer. “We want to ensure a nice winter offer for our guests in the future as well. In view of the climatic developments and the recent price increases in energy costs, the summer season is clearly the time with more favorable earnings prospects," says Bernhard Schöpf. In view of the expected increases in energy costs, the coming winter will bring with it the need for significant savings. Night skiing, which is limited to a few exceptions, is one of them. However, the company cannot avoid making price adjustments to card tariffs. “Unfortunately, we have no choice but to increase the price of lift tickets by 10%. This puts us in line with the industry average. Even so, it becomes difficult to ensure cost-covering operation. As things currently stand, in Imst we now have the reverse situation of most other Tyrolean mountain railways. Due to the high yields of the summer, we subsidize the winter instead of the other way around.”