The United States, an essential pillar of Swiss tourism

The United States, an essential pillar of Swiss tourism
The United States, an essential pillar of Swiss tourism

The United States is on the verge of overtaking Germany as the leading market for Swiss hotels. This change is looming for the coming summer season, according to forecasts from the Bak Economics institute published Tuesday.

Economists from the Basel institute are counting on growth of 0.9% in hotel nights during the summer season, driven by the recovery in distant markets, where nights are expected to increase by almost 10%. The interest of American tourists in Switzerland continues to strengthen, which is reflected in the statistics. In the space of ten years, the overnight stays of American guests have almost doubled and are expected to reach 2.1 million this summer, which will make them account for a sixth of the overnight stays of foreign guests this season.

The solid growth in the United States and other distant markets contrasts with the bout of weakness in domestic and European demand, for which overnight stays are expected to fall by 2.1% and 0.7% respectively. This is due to weak purchasing power and a generally gloomy economic situation in Europe. The appreciation of the franc this winter, although stopped by the drop in interest rates from the Swiss National Bank (SNB), may have encouraged people to book their summer vacations elsewhere. Germany, particularly affected by difficult economic conditions, is expected to suffer a decline.

As demand from distant markets becomes more significant in the total, tourist flows tend to be better distributed over the year, because non-European visitors travel more willingly in the low season, economists explain. A second advantage is the increase in added value per night, due to higher spending on average for visitors from afar.

Economists nevertheless point to two negative trends for Swiss tourism: a length of stay which tends to decrease and a greater concentration of tourists in certain regions. The very positive statistics for overnight stays therefore do not reflect the full complexity of the picture.

Positive outlook after summer

For the winter season, Bak Economics expects slight growth of 0.4%. Domestic and European demand should decrease slightly, however, the progression of distant markets should help to compensate, the institute projects.

In the longer term, we should expect domestic demand to stabilize at around 14% more than before the pandemic. Lower interest rates in Europe are expected to boost the economy and households will benefit from rising nominal wages, allowing demand to maintain.

Conversely, the fight against inflation in the United States is less advanced and this should slow down demand, placing the budget for the holidays under pressure. Distant markets should still remain an important vector of growth in 2025 and 2026, with the potential for catch-up not yet exhausted. The Chinese market will continue its broad recovery, although we should not expect to return to pre-pandemic levels.

This article was automatically published. Sources: ats/awp



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