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Winter blues for Swiss hotels

The number of foreign visitors staying in Swiss hotels fell by almost ten per cent during the winter season

(Keystone Archive)

Swiss hoteliers have reported a decline in the number of overseas guests over the winter period.

Statistics released on Thursday revealed that the number of foreign tourists staying overnight in Switzerland fell by nearly ten per cent during the 2001/2 winter season.

According to the Federal Statistics Office, tourists from abroad notched up 4.19 million overnight stays in Swiss hotels between December and February - 460,000 less than during the same period last year.

Analysts said the September 11 terrorist attacks, the global economic downturn and a strong Swiss franc were the main factors contributing to the latest decline.

The number of tourists visiting Switzerland from Germany, Britain, France and Belgium all fell during the winter period.

Industry insiders said the continuing economic crisis in Japan was the main reason for a record 33 per cent fall in the number of Japanese tourists booking overnight accommodation in Switzerland.

While the downturn affected most Swiss tourist regions, canton Valais bucked the trend and recorded a slight increase in visitor numbers.

Last month, the Swiss tourism industry announced it was bouncing back after suffering a downturn in its fortunes.

Mauro Ghirardi, head of market research at Switzerland Tourism, told swissinfo that he expected visitor numbers to increase by up to two per cent over the summer.

swissinfo with agencies

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