The Zurich hotel business is booming, with 2,000 new rooms set to come onto the market by the end of 2001. Around 25 per cent more beds will be available bringing the total number of rooms in the city up to nearly 10,000.
"Zurich's hotel sector has not experienced such a period of strong growth since the 1970s," said Gugliamo Brentel, director of the Zurich Hotel Association.
Occupancy rates run at close to 77 per cent, making Zurich second only to Amsterdam in terms of occupancy in Europe.
"The city is benefiting from many factors, including an unprecedented number of congresses and trade fairs as well as sporting and cultural events," said Zurich Tourism's director Edith Strub.
French budget-hotel chains are making big inroads into the Zurich market. Ibis, Novotel and Etap have all opened hotels in Zurich this month. Other hotels are also planned by Hilton and Hyatt.
Even McDonalds, known better for its fast-food restaurants has chosen Zurich as the site of its first ever hotel. The 200-bed hotel will open its doors in the first half of next year.
Although many of the hotel rooms in Zurich are aimed at the upper end of the market, Zurich Tourism is keen to stress how Zurich's changing image is also attracting more tourists as well.
"Zurich's image is changing. It's very trendy, and it's not only a town for banking and finance, we also have bars, clubs and cafés," said Meinrad Schmid, marketing director of Zurich Tourism.
by Tom O'Brien