The whole world is drawn to faraway places

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Luxury hotel instead of vacations ‘on the balcony’ at home. (Image: Y. Pankevich / unsplash)

The latest travel data impressively show how tourists at home and abroad are currently behaving. There is no sign of a slowdown in the trend.

The latest figures on overnight stays in Switzerland clearly illuminate that trend. Everyone is drawn abroad. On the one hand, this applies to tourists from abroad who are once again increasingly traveling to Switzerland.

On the other hand, it also applies to the Swiss, who now prefer to spend their vacations beyond their country’s borders.

Travel is ‘in’ again

This is impressively shown by the latest provisional figures released by the Federal Statistical Office last Friday. The hotel industry in Switzerland recorded a total of 3.8 million overnight stays in September 2022, an increase of 14.2 percent compared to the same period last year.

Of these, 1.8 million overnight stays were attributable to foreign guests. This figure increased by an enormous 47 percent.

Thus, as reported by, foreigners want to spend their vacations abroad again, and this time increasingly in Switzerland.

Swiss pack their bags

Domestic guests, on the other hand, generated around 4.4 percent fewer overnight stays. In total, Swiss visitors spent 2 million overnight stays. The trend is clearly evident when you look at the absolute figures. The Swiss spend around 100,000 fewer nights in Switzerland.

Foreigners, however, come to Switzerland with about 560,000 nights.

From January to September the Swiss hotel industry recorded a total of 29.7 million overnight stays, which corresponds to an increase of 31.3 percent or 7.1 million overnight stays.

Stately additional revenues

You have to let that roll off your tongue: 7.1 million times 150 Swiss francs per night, for example, adds up to more than 1 billion Swiss francs in additional revenue for the industry so far this year.

If we take the Swiss luxury hotel industry and assume a moderate overnight rate of 1,000 Swiss francs per night, the estimate arrives at 7.1 billion Swiss francs in additional revenue compared with the first three quarters of last year.

Probably the truth of the calculation lies somewhere in the middle, given the average room rates in Switzerland. But restaurants, transportation and entertainment aren’t even included in that additional revenue.

Cautious statements

Overall, 13.1 million overnight stays were attributable to foreign visitors, who provided a 114.9 percent boost to growth. Domestic visitors generated 16.6 million overnight stays as of September, roughly matching last year’s volume.

Thus, a prevalent part of the growth in revenues is generated by tourists and business people from outside the country’s borders.

However, the fact that growth in the summer months has now slowed down should not lead to the misinterpretation of lower growth in travel. Indeed, the previous year’s figures were much lower in the first few months of the year than in the summer period, because travel had already picked up sharply by then.

Lifting of restrictions

Just think of the completely unexpected lifting of coronavirus restrictions in some countries over July and August 2021. Travel became possible again for the first time in the summer months without blanket coronavirus testing.

And the travel chaos at many airports in the summer of 2022 is certainly still a familiar story to many, which also reported on. Without those images of the long lines and luggage problems, many more people might have traveled this year. So there is potential.

Where do we go from here? Well, interested parties may recall the media release of the Swiss hotel industry for the winter season 2021/2022, i.e. from November 2021 to April 2022.

Constant desire to travel

At that time Swiss hotel companies had recorded around 14.6 million overnight stays. Compared to the same period of the previous year this was an increase of 54 percent. Foreign demand rose by almost 200 percent to 5.6 million overnight stays.

And among domestic guests, who also wanted to take a skiing vacation or a city trip, demand increased by around 20 percent compared with the previous winter to 9.0 million overnight stays.

Should all of this now be any different in the upcoming winter season, with much less fear of the corona virus and a much more regained desire to travel? Probably not.


The whole world is drawn to faraway places

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