BY A CORRESPONDENT
February 28, 2007
Switzerland’s tourism industry has good reason to
The country recorded 34.8 million overnight stays in
2006 – up by 5.8 over 2005.
The tourism sector’s best figures since 2000 comprise
18.3 million foreign stays, up by 7.2%, and 14.6 million
Swiss stays, up by 4%.
Roger Waber, an official of Swiss Tourism, says: “There
has been a lot of investment in infrastructure, quality
and what is on offer. I think that is certainly one
reason why the figures are so good. We now have to build
The Federal Statistics Office has revealed that the 35
million overnight stays correspond to 14.8 million
arrivals – which means that the average tourist stays
for 2.35 nights.
The Swiss tourism sector seems to have got over concerns
caused by the terrorist attacks in New York on September
11, 2001, and the respiratory epidemic, known as Sars, a
Visitors from the United States have climbed on the
Swiss list, to the third place. In 2003, they could only
make it to the fifth place, coming behind the French and
In 2006, American tourists spent 1.5 million nights in
Switzerland, up by 11% compared to 2005.
“The biggest tourist market for Switzerland is
Switzerland itself, then the Germans and then the
British,” according to Florence Porret of the tourism
section in the Federal Statistics Office.
There has also been a boom in tourist arrivals from the
so-called BRIC nations – Brazil, Russia, India and
China. The Swiss government had announced in December
2006 that it was focusing economically on these
The number of nights spent in Switzerland by Russian
tourists rose by 18.7% to 328,000. The figure for Indian
tourists was 284,000 (up by 14.2%), for Chinese tourists
205,000 (up by 19.5%) and for Brazilian tourists, up by
24.4% to 128,000.
Graubünden, Zurich, Valais, the Bernese Oberland and
central Switzerland were host to almost two-thirds (62%)
of all overnight stays – over 3.5 million for each
As for the most popular cities, Zurich had 2.4 million
overnight stays, Geneva 1.8 million, Zermatt 1.2
million, Lucerne 860,000, and Basel 720,000.
Roger Waber of Swiss Tourism says that the global
economic situation, coupled with a strong euro and weak
franc, certainly play a role in the increasing
popularity of Swiss cities.
“In the cities, one finds excellent cultural and
gastronomic attractions and these can be combined with
day-trips to the mountains. I think that is the greatest
attraction of Swiss cities,” Waber adds.