Even if the winter was a success: the corona crisis reverberates in Swiss tourism.
From January to March 2022, Swiss tourism recorded just over eight million overnight stays. That’s more than the same period in the previous two years, but still less than before the pandemic.
Nevertheless, many areas draw a positive balance of the winter season 21/22. So did Franz Julen, President of Bergbahnen Zermatt: “The Zermatt Bergbahnen, but also most of the hotels, restaurants and the rest of the industry had the best winter ever.” Julen even speaks of a record winter.
It sounds similar to the director of Jungfrau Railways, Urs Kessler. “It was a winter that everyone wished for.”
One of the main reasons for the record winter was the nice weather. The sun shone almost every weekend.
We certainly need another winter that is nearly as good as this one.
According to the President of Bergbahnen Zermatt, however, one must not forget that the pandemic has left its mark on the balance sheet. “We certainly need another winter that is nearly as good as this one in order to bring the balance sheet structure and over-indebtedness back to the level they were before the pandemic.”
Winter season a success – and the summer?
The focus is now on the summer season. Before the pandemic, the Swiss accounted for 40 percent of tourism value creation. The remaining 60 percent was provided by foreign guests.
During the pandemic, the many Swiss people who spent their holidays in their own country compensated for the lack of guests from abroad. Now that more distant destinations can be traveled to again, the question arises as to who will bring the remaining 60 percent this year.
Foreign guests are still missing
Demand from other countries has not yet recovered. Especially for tourists from Asia and the USA.
The Jungfrau region in particular is dependent on Asian guests. «In 2020 and 2021 we had 250 percent more Swiss people on the Jungfraujoch. However, the Asian tourists cannot compensate for that,” says Urs Keller.
Zermatt, where around 20 to 25 percent of Asians usually spend the summer, is also confronted with this problem. “We expect a minus of 10 to 15 percent in summer compared to before Covid. We won’t be able to catch up with the missing Asians with Swiss guests,” says Franz Julen, President of Bergbahnen Zermatt.
The hope now rests on the fact that many Swiss guests have rediscovered Switzerland during the pandemic – and will continue to do so.