Swiss ski resorts tipped to enjoy bumper season

Domestic ski enthusiasts are expected to fill the void left by diminshing overseas visitors. Keystone / Laurent Gillieron

The Swiss tourism sector is tipped to experience a positive winter season despite the Ukraine war, escalating energy prices, ongoing lockdowns in China and the strong franc.

This content was published on October 21, 2022 - 10:57

The KOF Swiss Economic Institute predicts that overnight stays will beat pre-Covid pandemic levels as more Swiss people take to the mountains in the coming months. This is a far more optimistic forecast than that given by the Swiss Cable Car Association in September.

KOF expects hotels to book 16,973 overnight stays this winter, compared to 16,732 in the 2018/2019 season. Such numbers would represent a 16% rise from last winter with 2.4 million extra overnight stays being predicted.

Domestic tourists are expected to fill the void left by a dearth of Chinese and Russian guests with visitors from the United States also tipped to rise.

This follows a profitable summer season for Swiss hotels, restaurants and tourist regions, which saw the number of overnight stays rise significantly from the pandemic years.

But KOF said on Friday that tourism growth will be held back during the winter months by a number of factors.

Few Russian or Chinese guests are expected due to the Ukraine war and continued coronavirus lockdowns in China. The strength of the franc against the euro will prevent growth from the European Union market.

KOF is confident that Swiss ski resorts will not be affected by rising energy costs to the same degree as neighbouring countries. This is because neighbours, such as Germany, are more reliant on Russian gas supplies than Switzerland.

However, the Swiss Cable Car Association said in September that ski regions may suffer from declining numbersExternal link this winter season.

Association president Berno Stoffel said that last winter’s figures were boosted by the early arrival of snow in Switzerland, which may not happen this time around.

He also predicts stiffer competition from resorts in Austria, France and Italy which last season imposed tougher pandemic restrictions than Switzerland.

He was also more pessimistic than KOF about rising energy costs, predicting that ski lifts will have to adapt to meet this challenge.

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