Summer looking brighter for Swiss tourism

Anticipated economic recovery in the Eurozone is expected to translate into more overnight visitors to Switzerland. Keystone

After a tough winter season, economic projections suggest that overnight stays in Switzerland will increase over the next two years, starting with a 1.7% jump this summer.

The figures were published Tuesday by the Swiss Economic Institute (KOF) at the federal technology institute ETH Zurich, which anticipates recovery for the nation’s tourism industry thanks to “solid domestic demand and the recovery of foreign demand”.

Exchange rate stability – expected to increase incomes and boost competitiveness without significantly raising prices – could help improve the situation in the remainder of 2017.

Here comes the sun​​​​​​​

During the 2016-2017 winter season, poor weather conditions saw the tourism industry struggle to draw visitors. However, it managed an overall 0.6% growth in overnight stays over the previous difficult year when a combination of the strong franc and poor snowfall saw total overnight stays drop 1.8%. Stays by foreign visitors dropped 3.8% in 2015-2016, according to the Federal Statistical Office.

But this coming summer, visitors from abroad – notably distant countries like China and the US – are expected to increase. Overall, visits from abroad are expected to grow 2.1% over last summer.
KOF also expects growth in overnight stays over the next two years.

“The domestic demand will continue its favourable development and the foreign demand will show a remarkable turnaround,” the economic research group said in a statement.

Online accommodations

KOF also noted that the growing popularity of online room-booking platform Airbnb, which falls under the category of “non-hotel accommodation”, is likely to continue putting competitive pressure on the classic Swiss hotel industry. Non-hotel accommodation is a significant portion of the Swiss tourism industry, currently accounting for some 30% of all overnight stays.

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