The Swiss hotel industry had a remarkable summer season, thanks to the arrival of American tourists and the gradual return of Chinese tourists. Tourism professionals are optimistic about the upcoming winter season. From May to October, the summer season saw 23.9 million hotel nights in the Alpine country, surpassing the previous record set in 2019, according to the Federal Statistical Office (FSO).
During the summer of 2023, foreign demand for overnight stays increased by 17.2%, with almost 12.4 million overnight stays. Tourists from the United States played a significant role in this increase, generating more than 2 million nights for the first time since 1985, as stated in a press release by the OFS. Chinese tourists also returned to travel and the number of nights they spent quadrupled compared to the summer season in 2022, with 343,661 nights. However, this figure is still much lower than the pre-pandemic level. In 2019, Chinese tourists generated 951,412 overnight stays.
The OFS has reported a significant rise in South Korean and Indian tourists. The data shows that the number of nights spent by Asian customers has increased by 47.3% over the past year. However, despite these positive results, the OFS has noted that foreign demand during the 2023 summer season is still 3.3% lower than that of 2019.
The Swiss hotel industry has benefited from the intense enthusiasm of domestic travel. Although the number of overnight stays among Swiss customers decreased by 3.4% compared to the 2022 summer season, it remained at a high level of 11.5 million overnight stays. During the pandemic, many Swiss vacationers habitually explored other regions of the country. The OFS divides the count of overnight stays into two seasons: a summer season from May to October and a winter season from November to April, when tourists come to hit the ski slopes.
Growth of 3% is expected this winter
Tourism professionals in Switzerland are facing the challenge of global warming and unpredictable snowfall in low-altitude resorts. To counter this, they are promoting Switzerland's summer offerings, which include picturesque villages, lakes, and hiking trails. Despite this, according to an indicative survey by Suisse Tourisme, the organization promoting tourism in Alpine countries, the winter season has started well. Swiss hoteliers are optimistic about a 3% growth in overnight stays during the end-of-year holiday period and for the entire 2023/2024 winter season. Mountain regions expect a 3.5% increase in overnight stays between Christmas and New Year compared to last year.