Record year for tourists at Swiss Alpine Club huts
Never in the history of Switzerland’s top mountaineering organisation has there been such a popular year for tourists staying at their alpine huts. In 2022, huts run by the Swiss Alpine Club (SAC) recorded nearly 375.000 overnight stays, but the year was not without its own unique challenges…
What are SAC huts?
Today, the SAC operates 151 different alpine huts dotted across Switzerland. With most situated high in the mountains, the dwellings are designed to be used by hikers looking for lodgings in the most remote parts of the country - it often takes hours of tough walking to get to each site.
Once you arrive, most huts are simply furnished with mattress dorms and common rooms, although some serviced sites offer half board and bed and breakfast packages. Being so far from civilization, home comforts like the internet, mobile phone reception and even showers are a luxury. However, as a place to lay your weary head after a day of alpine hiking, you could do a lot worse. Plus, prices start at as little as 25 francs a night.
Hot summer of 2022 nearly closed the alpine huts
Though the hot Swiss weather in the summer of 2022 was a joy for many tourists, the freak weather also made for some difficulties, too. The SAC's strong tourist season post-COVID was almost wiped out by water shortages and the risk of drought when the weather was at its hottest during the summer peak. In a press release, given to Blick, the SAC admitted they were only able to continue operating the huts with severe water-saving measures.
Four SAC huts had to remain closed even after the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic passed. These huts were affected by landslides and avalanches in the mountains that damaged the routes to and from the dwellings. Nevertheless, the remaining 147 SAC huts were able to open without problems.
2022 record beats pre-COVID holiday seasons
Despite the issues, visitor numbers at the huts in 2022 beat even pre-COVID holiday seasons. In the summer of 2022, the SAC saw 295.734 overnight stays, 5 percent more than in 2019. Turnover from guests staying at the club’s huts reached 37,9 million Swiss francs, making it the first time that the club has received a revenue of more than 35 million Swiss francs.
In the last 15 years, the huts have made an average of 28,2 million Swiss francs each year. In 2022, the company managed to collect 9,8 million in revenue from overnight stays and 21,1 million Swiss francs from food and services.