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Tourism trend

Strong franc triggers demand for holidays in Europe

By swissinfo.ch and agencies

Swiss tourists are heading for European beaches this summer, with destinations such as Spain and Greece benefiting from the strong franc. However, there are also losers among traditionally popular resorts. 

Double-digit growth for bookings to some locations was reported on Monday by the Swiss Travel Federation, which had surveyed the country’s largest travel agents. 

Cyprus and southern Turkey have lost appeal for Swiss tourists compared with last summer. One reason given was that various hoteliers in Turkey have raised their prices this year. 

Other losers include Egypt and Tunisia, where the effects of political instability are being felt. But since prices in these destinations have sunk considerably, increased demand is expected in autumn. 

The biggest winner in the long-distance sector is the United States. Since the exchange rate with the dollar is also very attractive for holders of francs, tours of the US are very popular this year. 

Travel agents are also pleased with the number of bookings for the Caribbean, Thailand and South Africa. 

On January 15, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) stunned markets, politicians and consumers when it scrapped its policy preventing the Swiss franc from appreciating beyond CHF1.20 to the euro. The franc surged – at one point the euro fell to just 0.85 francs. 

The Swiss were quick to realise that they could suddenly get a lot more for their money in the eurozone, especially neighbouring France and Germany. Since then growing numbers of shoppers regularly travel to German and French towns close to Swiss borders. 

Early bookings 

The Swiss Travel Federation explained on Monday that savings for Swiss tourists depended on where they go and how they get there. 

Destinations within Europe are offering discounts of 10-20%, with some flights halved in price, it said. 

As food for thought, the federation pointed out that since Swiss travel agents had had to adjust their services to the higher exchange rate, an increase in bookings could in some cases actually result in painful losses. 

But this would change in the winter season, it continued, because the agents could profit from the purchase of the strong franc. 

Another positive aspect, according to Swiss travel agents, is that many Swiss had already booked and paid for their summer holidays in January or February, before the SNB’s decision. This had provided a degree of planning security for the year.

swissinfo.ch and agencies



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