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Security and tourism Terrorism fears keep Swiss holidaymakers at home

Before, it was Paris for Swiss vacationers. Now, it's closer to home.

(Keystone)


Swiss tourists are currently staying clear of Turkey, Tunisia and Paris and are instead “staycationing” in Switzerland, where they feel safer.

Paris was a favourite destination for the Swiss until the terrorist attacks in November. In the first quarter of the year, the number of nights spent by Swiss in the French capital plummeted by 20%.

“You only become aware of security when you no longer have it,” said Christian Lasser, a professor of tourism at the University of St Gallen. “Comparatively safe countries such as Switzerland then have an advantage.”

Within Switzerland, popular areas among Swiss holidaymakers include Ticino, the Lake Geneva region, canton Graubünden in the eastern part of the country and the Bernese Oberland, according to Urs Eberhard, vice-director of Swiss Tourism.

“We’ve received very good feedback. The booking figures for this summer are very good,” he said.

Strong franc

Many Swiss have already gone on holiday at home this year. The number of overnight stays for January to May increased on the same period for 2015.
Closer analysis reveals that during the same period more Swiss also stayed in Austria and Germany, also considered relatively safe travel destinations.

What’s more, the weak euro would have made this an even more attractive option.

In general, the issue of security will increase as a factor when planning a holiday, Eberhard reckoned. “People might ask themselves, ‘Will I get into a situation that I can no longer control? And how likely is it that I’ll be affected?’”


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