The most popular summer tourist destinations in Switzerland revealed
New figures from the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) have revealed the most popular places to visit in Switzerland during the summer. The government found that the alpine nation is on track to host a record number of tourists this year, with Swiss cities and several resorts in the mountains reaping the rewards.
Swiss hotels on track for a record year
According to the FSO, the Swiss hotel industry is on track for a record-breaking year in 2023. In the first eight months of the year, the country’s best (and worst) hotels registered 28,8 million overnight stays - 1 million more than during the same period in the previous record year, 2019.
The report noted that while this summer has seen a huge number of tourists flock to the country’s top destinations, overnight stays have declined in several areas compared to 2019. Swiss cities, the Jungfrau region, and Ticino have been the biggest beneficiaries of the tourist boom, while Canton Graubünden as a whole and some Swiss ski resorts have experienced a decline in the number of holidaymakers.
Which parts of Switzerland are most popular with tourists?
Nevertheless, it was a Graubünden town that saw its tourist numbers increase the most in 2023: the source of the River Rhine, Disentis / Mustér. 21.546 overnight stays were recorded in the town in June, July and August - 115,3 percent more than in the same period in 2019. Watson explained that much of this growth can be attributed to the number of locals choosing to go on holiday there.
The town of Minusio on the pristine banks of Lake Maggiore saw its tourist stays increase by a whopping 94,3 percent compared to 2019. In all, here are the towns that have seen the biggest increases in overnight stays this summer (in percent compared to 2019):
- Disentis / Mustér, Graubünden (115,3)
- Minusio, Ticino (94,3)
- Quarten, St. Gallen (72)
- Kloten, Zurich (68,8)
- Sion, Valais (64,3)
- Meyrin, Geneva (55,8)
- Bulle, Fribourg (46,2)
- Morschach, Schwyz (34)
- Ollon, Vaud (30,7)
- Laax, Graubünden (30,5)
In terms of Swiss cities, Bern has seen the biggest boom in popularity, with 22,2 percent more overnight stays recorded compared to 2019, followed by St. Gallen (21,8), Zurich and Geneva (2,9). 0,14 percent fewer overnight stays were recorded in Basel, while Lucerne and Lausanne experienced declines of 6,8 and 9,1 percent respectively.
Which is the most popular summer destination in Switzerland?
In absolute terms, Zurich remains the most popular place to visit in Switzerland in the summer, and with the amount of things to do on offer, it's easy to see why. 1.152.677 overnight stays were recorded in the "Swiss metropolis" between June and August 2023. The city was followed by Geneva (677.293), Zermatt (460.249), Lucerne (428.911) and Basel (416.708).
It wasn’t all sunshine and roses for Swiss hotels though. Fribourg has seen the number of stays within city limits decline by 46,9 percent compared to 2019. Some of the most famous ski resorts in the country, such as Saas-Fee, Davos, Samedan and Meiringen also saw major declines.
Some Swiss resorts struggle with fewer tourists
Watson explained that even though domestic tourism has continued to flourish in 2023, tourist numbers from China and the rest of Asia have not recovered since the pandemic, significantly hurting resorts that are popular with Asian tourists like Lucerne, Lausanne and areas of central Switzerland.
Fewer tourists are also coming from Germany - something Watson blamed on Swiss prices and the higher cost of living in the federal republic - meaning destinations popular with them, like traditional ski resorts in Graubünden, also suffered. For more information about the study, check out the FSO website.
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