Swiss soldiers spent more than 121.000 nights in hotels in 2022
The Swiss Army logged 121.000 overnight stays in hotels in 2022 - more overnight bookings than all Japanese visitors to Switzerland combined. These overnight stays are costly, and according to NZZ am Sonntag, they make up around 40 percent of all costs associated with military accommodation. So why is the Swiss Army spending so much money on hotels?
Shortage of military houses forces army to rent hotel rooms
The growing shortage of rooms in army barracks means that the Swiss military is relying more and more on hotel rooms to house their soldiers. According to NZZ am Sonntag, the Swiss Army spent 8,5 million francs on hotel rooms last year.
The majority of hotel stays were used by army officers, with most conscripts being assigned to barracks. What's more, with the accomodation allowance for officers and senior NCOs having risen from 70 to 100 francs a night at the start of 2023, the NZZ predicted that costs will rise further in the coming years.
Former Swiss army colonel surprised by amount of hotel stays
The new findings have prompted strong criticism from several Swiss politicians. Left-wing politician Franziska Roth told the NZZ that she was “very surprised” by the extent of the accommodation expenditure and called for more frugal spending in the future.
Former army colonel and National Councillor Lorenz Hess disagreed, telling the newspaper that it is not unusual for officers to be given hotel rooms. Hess stated that “it is proper that they are housed separately from troops”, and that being given better accomodation was one of the perks of becoming an officer. However, even with this in mind, Hess was taken aback by the number of hotel stays booked by officers, noting that he was surprised by the “impressive” figure.