Pandemic takes toll on winter sports operators 

The Jungfraubahn takes people to a top spot in the Bernese Alps, a favourite destination in better times especially for Asian tourists. © Keystone / Anthony Anex

The Jungfraubahn lift company, which carries people to the top destination in the Bernese Alps, recorded a drop of more than 65% in visitors last year, due to the coronavirus pandemic.  

This content was published on January 5, 2021 - 16:40

Its visitors totalled only 362,800 people in 2020, compared with more than a million in 2019, including a large Asian clientele.  

The carrier said on Tuesday that it had suffered from the "83 days of closure" imposed by restrictions to combat the pandemic. Nearly half of its 2020 visitors came during the summer months (153,000 people), and most of them were Swiss.  

But the increased presence of Swiss tourists was not able to compensate for the absence of Asian customers. "In the summer months, around 95% of visitors came from Switzerland," said Managing Director Urs Kessler, adding that with more local customers, "we have become more dependent on the weather". 

Meanwhile, businesses in winter sports stations report revenue down 11% during the end of year holiday season compared with the same period last year, according to a survey by Switzerland Tourism. They say that although many local people came, this did not make up for the relative absence of foreign visitors.  

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