Swiss people looking for a bit of warmth over Christmas and the New Year are preferring to seek a tranquil beach holiday in the Canary Islands and Thailand rather than risk political instability in past favourites Egypt and Tunisia.
Swiss travel agencies Hotelplan, Kuoni and Tui said their bookings rose strongly for the sun and surf of the winter months in the Canary Islands and Thailand.
This is in contrast to a sharp decline in reservations for Egypt, where social unrest and travel warnings have crushed tourism in recent years. A terror attack at a beach resort in June that killed dozens of people, and the ensuing travel warnings, likewise decimated the tourist industry in Tunisia.
Spain’s Canary Islands off the coast of Africa are particularly attractive due to lower prices this winter, though Thailand’s classic beach destinations have regained their popularity since the tsunami that devastated Phuket in 2004, according to the travel agencies.
Other destinations popular with the Swiss for longer holidays include Australia, Botswana, Cambodia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Laos, the Maldives, Namibia, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates and the United States.
Among European cities, the Swiss are travelling less to Paris in the wake of November’s terror attacks there and more to Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin and Lisbon. But for shopping around Christmas, New York City is king.
“Amsterdam is this year’s hit destination for New Year’s Eve,” said Bianca Schmidt of Tui Switzerland.
The Swiss also favour ski areas in North America, particularly in Canada and Colorado, where there is plenty of snow in contrast to Switzerland’s brown slopes.
swissinfo.ch and agencies