Vanderlei J. Pollack - Nov 2, 2020
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In the winter season, Swiss tourism authorities expect to welcome one third fewer European guests. As a result, overnight stays are to decline by 30%.

It is a permanent topic on all channels: tourism was hit very hard by the Corona crisis. The winter season ended abruptly at the beginning of the year. Although the summer season went better, as many Swiss people relaxed at home, they too were unable to compensate for the absence of foreign guests. Especially because Swiss guests often only went on day trips. In addition, the number of overnight stays by foreign guests was 40% below that of the previous year, as the economic research center of the ETH Zurich has now announced.

Tourists came from Germany or France, but hardly from other European countries. And almost no guests from Asia or the USA flew into the country anyway because of travel restrictions.

For the coming winter season things do not look much better for Swiss tourism. In its new forecast, the KOF assumes that "infection rates will remain high during the winter months and travel restrictions within Europe will remain in place at least for the time being".

One-third Less from Europe

Guests from the long-distance markets will not return until spring 2021 - i.e. they will be absent during the winter season. "In such a scenario, the number of overnight stays by European tourists in the winter season will be around a third less than last year," says KOF Director Jan-Egbert Sturm.

On the other hand, about eight per cent more guests from Germany would probably spend their vacations in the mountains. They can provide some support for tourism.

This means that the total number of overnight stays should fall by 30%.  

Things Could Also Get Worse

These calculations are based on the status quo. However, it is also possible that the pandemic will become more severe again in winter and last much longer than assumed. Then the demand from European guests would continue to decline.

In this worse scenario, overnight stays in the coming winter season are likely to collapse by over 50%, whether with domestic or foreign guests, writes the KOF.

Recovery Only at the End of 2023

The ETH researchers expect that Swiss tourism will not be able to welcome as many guests as before the Corona crisis until the end of 2023.

Conclusion: 13.3 million lost overnight stays in the current year. For the hotel industry, this results in a loss of 1.6 billion Swiss francs in turnover. For Swiss tourism as a whole, the loss of turnover this year is over ten billion swiss francs.

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