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Gloomy outlook for summer tourism

The number of hotel overnight stays is set to drop by 7.2 per cent this summer, the steepest fall for 27 years, according to a forecast released on Tuesday.

This content was published on May 19, 2009 - 13:15

BAK Basel Economics research consultancy found that the drop over the current tourism year as a whole would be the greatest in the entire post-war period.

However, the decline follows a period of growth. So although the winter season which has just ended dropped six per cent on the previous year, it nevertheless registered the second-largest number of overnight stays ever, 15.5 million.

Even with the predicted decline for the summer, the number of overnight stays is expected to be about 18.8 million, well above the level for the crisis years of 2002 and 2003.

BAK Basel attributes the decline to the economic crisis and to the rise in value of the franc against the euro and the British pound. The decline in the number of visitors from abroad is predicted to be much greater than that of domestic tourists.

It expects the decline to continue in 2010, although less steeply. Moderate growth can be expected again from 2011.

The umbrella organisation Switzerland Tourism has already been granted SFr12 million ($10.6 million) by the government to help it face the financial crisis.

The money is being spent promoting the country to its nearest neighbours and at home, since tourist experts recognise that people travel less far during times of economic crisis.

swissinfo.ch with agencies

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