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Sun shines on tourism

Most of the money was spent on overnight accommodation

(Keystone)

The amount spent by tourists to Switzerland last year rose for the first time since 2000 while the Swiss were also generous with their cash on their trips abroad.

The figures are proof that tourism has recovered from the downturn experienced after the attacks of September 11, 2001 in New York, says the Federal Statistics Office.

Incoming visitors spent nearly SFr13 billion ($10 billion), whereas those leaving the country spent SFr10.9 billion.

Tourists to Switzerland spent the bulk of their money – or SFr6.5 billion - on accommodation and transport, which represented a 5.7 per cent increase on the previous year.

This meant that 45 per cent of total outgoings went on a bed for the night, while food costs accounted for 25 per cent and the rest went on miscellaneous items.

The total amount spent on transport rose by 5.6 per cent to SFr3 billion.

Study trips

Foreign students studying in Switzerland also contributed greatly to the Swiss economy. Their outgoings amounted to SFr822 million - 4.6 per cent more than 2003.

Also included were health tourists. Those who fell sick or who specifically travelled to Switzerland for medical treatment spent SFr1 billion (+5.5 per cent).

Those Swiss who spent their holidays abroad shelled out SFr9.4 billion on transport and accommodation costs, an increase of nearly ten per cent.

Those who went outside the country but did not stay the night in a foreign location still spent SFr1.5 billion (+ 4 per cent).

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

In 2004, tourism to Switzerland increased by SFr579 million to SFr12.9 billion, an increase of 4.7 per cent on 2003.
The Swiss spent SFr10.9 billion abroad, an increase of 8.7 per cent.

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