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Tourists still reluctant to open their wallets

Tourists are becoming increasingly cost-conscious

(swissinfo.ch)

Overseas tourists visiting Switzerland are still keeping their wallets firmly in their pockets, much to the chagrin of retailers and hoteliers.

Spending by tourists has now fallen for three consecutive years, according to the Federal Statistics Office.

Last year, tourists forked out SFr12.1 billion ($9.88 billion) during their holidays in Switzerland. That’s SFr185 million less than in 2002, and a drop of 1.5 per cent.

In the past three years, spending by overseas tourists has fallen by 3.5 per cent.

That contrasts sharply with the boom years of 1997-2000, when spending went up every year.

Swiss tourists travelling abroad are also spending less. Last year, Swiss tourists dished out SFr10.1 billion during their foreign holidays – down 2.4 per cent (or SFr245 million) on 2002.

The average amount spent by Swiss overseas has also fallen for three years in a row.

Balance of payments

The “balance of payments” in terms of spending by tourists swung into Switzerland’s favour last year, for the first time in three years.

Tourists spent SFr2 billion more in Switzerland than the Swiss did during their holidays abroad. In the two preceding years, Swiss holidaymakers spent 9.2 per cent and 12.3 per cent more than tourists in Switzerland.

Hoteliers and guest houses also saw their take diminish last year: accommodation brought in SFr6.2 billion – a drop of 5.4 per cent (SFr355 million).

In the past three years, the number of overseas tourists visiting Switzerland has also fallen – by 1.31 million to 6.53 million.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Overseas tourists spent SFr12.1 billion in Switzerland last year – 1.5% less than in 2002.
In the past three years, spending by overseas tourists has fallen by 3.5 per cent.
Spending on accommodation brought in SFr6.2 billion – a drop of 5.4 per cent.
Swiss tourists travelling abroad spent SFr10.1 billion, a drop of 2.4 per cent over 2002.

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