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SWISS TOURISM

 

Swiss tourism makes splendid comeback in 2006

 


 

 

BY A CORRESPONDENT
February 28, 2007

Switzerland’s tourism industry has good reason to feel good.

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 on this.”

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 year later.

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 the Dutch.

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 countries.

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 region.

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.
 

 

 

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