Switzerland’s Easter holiday begins on Friday, and so does the annual traffic jam in the Gotthard road tunnel – a main artery for southbound vacationers. But for Swiss resort owners, the crowds may bring relief from a tough winter.
By Friday morning, the backup at the Gotthard’s northern entrance had already extended for nine kilometres, according to ViaSuisse. The traffic information service estimated that equates to about a 90 minute wait for motorists.
ViaSuisse advised travellers to use the San Bernardino Pass to the east instead.
A ten-kilometre backup had already formed late on Thursday night, before dissipating in the small hours of the morning and then re-forming at sunrise.
But alpine resort owners are not complaining. Businesses in the Bernese Oberland, central Switzerland, Graubünden and Valais all hope that with snow conditions still good, the four-day weekend will bring a healthy flow of vacationers.
Over the winter, the strong franc resulted in a 7% decline in visits from foreign vacationers compared to the 2014/2015 holiday season. About 20% of tourists come to Switzerland from the US and Asia and 30% from the eurozone.
Valentin König, director of the Aletsch Arena in Valais, observed in a statement that even if Easter holidaymakers can’t single-handedly change the tourism situation in Switzerland, they can certainly help improve it.
swissinfo.ch and agencies