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Swiss still prefer to holiday at home

The Swiss made more than 12 million trips abroad last year, but when it comes to holidays there's no place like home, according to a report by the federal statistics office.

The office said on Friday that while the number of trips abroad increased by one per cent in 1999, over 5.7 million stays were recorded in Switzerland, making it the top destination for Swiss holidaymakers.

It was followed in popularity by France, Spain and Italy. Among western European countries, Germany saw the biggest increase in visits – up 6.9 per cent.

The Swiss were also attracted by southern Europe and in total made 10 million visits on the continent.

But the figures showed the Swiss were also drawn to more exotic locations. Cheaper flights and last minute offers were cited by the office as a reason for the sharp increase in the number of trips to countries such as Kenya, Brazil, Cuba and Australia.

Egypt saw a massive 154 per cent increase in Swiss visitors, making up for the lean year of 1998 when they boycotted the country following the deaths of more than 30 Swiss tourists in an attack in Luxor.

Turkey, on the other hand, suffered a reversal in its fortunes. There were 50 per cent fewer Swiss visits to the country in 1999 than the year before.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR