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Gloomy prospects for Swiss hotels

After a significant drop in overnight stays during the past winter season, Swiss hoteliers are expecting a further decline this summer.

According to figures released by the Swiss Hotel Association, overnight stays were down 7.7 per cent (1.1 million stays) compared with the previous year.

Although the number of overnight stays, currently 14.5 million, did not decline as much as expected - an 11 per cent drop had been predicted -- hoteliers are not optimistic about their prospects for this summer.

The association believes that part of the better-than-expected results are due to marketing efforts launched after the September 11 terrorist attacks, which triggered a global economic downturn.

The pessimistic outlook for this summer could still prove wrong if the crisis in the Middle East does not exacerbate and exchange rates stabilise.

The marketing campaign with Expo.02 and the worldwide sale of the Expo hotel guide could also improve the situation.

City hotels are the most affected by the current downturn, especially in Zurich and Geneva, where the drop is 25 per cent and nearly 13 per cent respectively.

In the different categories, zero to one-star hotels were worst hit, with a decline of 16.6 per cent and 15.4 per cent respectively.

However, the Swiss hoteliers think the drop in overnight stays could have been worse if they had not launched a winter campaign together with Switzerland Tourism in November.

swissinfo with agencies

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