The number of overnight stays in Swiss hotels increased by 3.8% last year to 38.8 million.
Domestic tourism also registered a rise with 17.7 million stays by Swiss guests – up 2.7% on the previous year – Switzerland Tourismexternal link said at its annual press conference on Tuesday.
It also welcomed the 3.7% increase in European guests but added that in mountain regions this figure was still down 43% on 2008. The Swiss tourism industry had been hit hard by the strong franc, which made holidays in Switzerland more expensive for Europeans.
Despite that, German tourists remained the largest market, followed by the United States. In 2018 alone, visitors from the US made more than two million overnight stays in Switzerland, up 10% on 2017. The number of guests from Southeast Asia (Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore) and India also grew by around 10%.
Brexit uncertainty didn’t prevent the number of British overnights increasing by 2.3%.
Switzerland Tourism said it was optimistic for 2019, expecting the positive trend from Europe to continue and continued demand from regulars India, China, the US and Australia.
However, the industry association stressed the need for “massive” marketing efforts and called for more state money. The government has proposed giving Switzerland Tourism CHF55 million ($55 million) a year for the next legislative period, but the tourism body wants parliament to bump this up to CHF60 million. State funds make up 56% of the association’s budget.