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Asian guests Swiss tourist chief warns against Europe-only strategy

Group of Chinese tourists in Lucerne

Tourists from Asia are still outnumbered by guests from Europe and the US despite a growing number of Chinese and Indian holiday makers in Switzerland. (Archive picture)

(Keystone/Christof Schuerpf)

The director of Switzerland’s tourism marketing company has dismissed criticism that the country is overrun by Asian tourists.

Martin Nydegger said concerns by the local population about too many tourists should be taken seriously. But the perception of overtourism was mistaken and potentially damaging.

He said notably Chinese and Indian guests were more noticeable in public, but they were outnumbered by tourists from Europe and the United States visiting Switzerland.

He also pointed out that the local tourist industry benefited from an increasing number of Asian tourists who helped compensate for the European guests staying away as a result of the Euro crisis in 2008.

“I don’t want to imagine a situation where this would not have been possible,” he told SRF public radio at the weekend.

Europe first

His comments came as political moves are underway to link state subsidies for tourism specifically to guests from Europe.

Notably Swiss mountain resorts have suffered a massive decline in the number of guests from neighbouring Germany over the past ten years.

A record number of Chinese tourists at some in sightseeing hotspots and a huge party of Indian guests at the mountain resort of St Moritz earlier this year caught media attention.

Switzerland Tourismexternal link, which is mainly funded by the government, has announced it will launch a major marketing campaign next year to attract more European guests.

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