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Swiss hotels hosted more sleepovers in 2013

‘Room with balcony’ didn't mean much at this hotel in San Bernardino in Graubünden in February 2014 Keystone

Last year was a good one for Swiss hotels, with 35.6 million overnight stays – a 2.5% increase over 2012. Guests from China and the Middle East are helping to boost the numbers, according to statistics released on Monday.

Although 2013’s figures are weaker than the boom years of 2010 and 2008 – with 36 and 37 million overnight stays – the numbers are still considered strong for the past two decades. The nice summer was a help; June, July and August were particularly good months.

Most of the hotel guests came from Switzerland; in 2013 they accounted for 15.8 million overnight stays – 1.3% more than in 2012. There were also light increases in the number of visitors from Britain (1.6 million total), France (1.3 million) and Italy (980,646) in 2013.

But the drop in the number of other European visitors is worrisome, as Switzerland Tourism director Jürg Schmid told the media on Monday.

“We have to win back the guests from Europe,” Schmid said, citing the overall 13% drop in the number of European visitors since 2010, when the Swiss franc became especially strong. The drop in German visitors between 2012 and 2013 was also noticeable: from 4.6 down to 4.5 million.

In comparison, the numbers of Chinese and Middle Eastern visitors continued to grow – with about a 20% increase for both groups over the previous year. However, they came in smaller numbers than some of their peers. For example, in 2013 the Chinese accounted for 894,316 overnight stays – falling between the Italians and the Dutch (709,937).

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR