The phrase “go take a hike” can help to dispatch an irritating person in some places. In Switzerland its use more often signifies that a person is in good company. From teens to pensioners, more than four-in-10 say they are active hikers.
Just how seriously do the Swiss take hiking (not to mention skiing, that other most-popular outdoor pursuit)? With summer nearly upon us, here is a by-the-numbers look at hiking in Switzerland using the most up-to-date statisticsexternal link available.
Number of people between the ages of 15 and 74 who live in Switzerland and identify themselves as active hikers. It equals 44% of the population between those ages. About 8% of Swiss consider hiking their main sport.
The increase over less than a decade in the percentage of people between the ages of 15 and 74 who live in Switzerland and identify themselves as active hikers. In 2008, it equaled 37% of the population between those ages.
Average number of hours a year that each Swiss spends hiking on trails. This equals hikes lasting an average of three hours spread over an average of 20 days a year. Only about 2%-4% of all hikes last more than a day.
Number of foreign tourists a year who express a similar bent.
Percentage of hikers who frequent Switzerland’s vast network of restaurants and inns along the hiking routes.
Average spent per person a year while taking hikes in Switzerland, excluding expenses for hiking gear.
CHF2.5 billion ($2.56 billion)
Turnover generated by hiking in Switzerland each year among all Swiss and foreign tourists, excluding expenses for hiking gear. This includes CHF500 million from overnight stays.
66,200 kilometres (41,135 miles)
Extent of marked Swiss hiking trailsexternal link. Swiss tourism officials note this enough to hike around the globe 1 ½ times if all the trails were laid end-to-end. Half are country lanes and forest paths for walking, cycling and, in some cases, tractors or off-road vehicles.
Number of bed spaces available among the Swiss Alpine Clubexternal link’s 152 huts in the Alps.
- Swiss Federal Roads Office, “Wandern in der Schweiz 2014”
- Swiss Federal Roads Office, “The economic essentials of Swiss hiking trails” (2011)
- Swiss Alpine Club
- Swiss Council for Accident Prevention