Saturday, June 9, 2012

Switzerland overnight stays recede for the 2011-2012 Winter Season

According to provisional results from the Federal Statistical Office (FSO), during the winter tourist season (November 2011 to April 2012), 15.2 million overnight stays were recorded, corresponding to a fall of 3.7% (-591,000 overnight stays) compared with the same period of the previous year.
Despite excellent snowfall across the Swiss Alps for much of the winter the main problem the country had was a poor exchange rate. The government did step in to support the currency ensuring it did not drop below 1.4 Swiss francs to £1, but just four years ago £1 would buy 2.6 francs. The exchange rate put many people off.
Of the various cantons and regions Graubünden, which has resorts such as Davos and St Moritz, was hit hardest with an 8.6% fall.
The Valais canton, that contains the ski resorts of Verbier, Zermatt, Saas-Fee and Crans-Montana, was down 6.8%.
The Bernese Oberland, that has Wengen and Grindelwald within its borders, registered a fall of 6.2%.
The figures compare to the previous winter but the season of 2010/11 saw falls of up to 6% on 2009/10.
A breakdown in the nationalities shows the number of British people declining by 10%, Germany 16% and Holland 19%.
There was a 7% rise in Russians.
Despite the overall fall in European visitors there was an increase from other parts of the world. There were 37% more people from China and increases from Southeast Asia, India and the Middle East.
The number of Swiss people staying in the country went up by 0.1%. This is somewhat surprising as holidaying in the nearby eurozone parts of the Alps would have offered better value for money, but many Swiss ski resorts had good conditions across large parts of the winter and this would have attracted locals. However there were many examples from ski resorts neighbouring Switzerland that saw a sharp rise in Swiss skiers and snowboarders as they took advantage of the cheap exchange rate with the euro. For instance, the Tirol in Austria reported a 15.9% increase in Swiss visitors.

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