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Covid-19: Swiss tourism sector to suffer until 2023-2024

Tourism officials are anxiously observing the upcoming winter season, which typically brings in around CHF2 billion ($2.2 billion) a year. Keystone / Anthony Anex

Switzerland’s hard-hit tourism sector is set to continue to suffer due to the new coronavirus for another three or four years, according to a government official.

This content was published on October 23, 2020 - 15:47
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“We do not expect a full recovery [of the tourism sector] until 2023 or 2024,” Erik Jakob, of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco), told reporters in Bern on Friday.

Jakob described a "historic decline in overnight stays in Switzerland" in 2020 and huge differences in tourism between cities and mountain regions.

Urban tourism is suffering most, he said, with a drop in sales of up to 60%. But certain tourist regions, such as cantons Valais, Ticino and Graubünden, benefited from numerous domestic guests in summer to ease the pain.

Earlier this month the Federal Statistical Office reported a 15.6% increase in the number of overnight stays by domestic visitors in August, compared to last year. This mitigated the persistent desertion of guests from abroad (down 60.3%).

Tourism officials are meanwhile anxiously observing the upcoming winter season, which typically brings in around CHF2 billion ($2.2 billion) a year. Switzerland Tourism is due to give a presentation on the winter season and special Covid-19 protection plans on November 13.

Overall, the government predicts Swiss economic output to shrink by 3.8% this year, not as bad a coronavirus-triggered slump as previously expected.

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