Bloomberg | | Posted by Zarafshan Shiraz
International visitors flocked to Switzerland in the first half of the year, driven by a doubling in demand from Asia as tourists brushed off the strong franc and continued to spend money saved up during the Covid pandemic on trips.
The number of overnight stays by foreigners at Swiss hotels jumped 33% from a year earlier to 9.4 million, the country’s statistics agency said on Friday. With the domestic market steady, the overall number of nights booked rose almost 14% to 19.5 million in January to June.
The figures add to optimism in Switzerland’s tourism sector after a rebound in spending gave it the best winter season on record. Still, foreign demand remains 7.5% below the same period in 2019, before the pandemic.
The number of overnight stays at Swiss hotels by Asian visitors doubled to 864,000. The fastest rise was among Chinese guests, with a threefold surge from a year earlier to 114,000. The US accounted for the biggest overall number of hotel visitors, with a 53% increase to 452,000 nights.
The Swiss franc has become the best performer among Group-of-10 currencies in the year to date, soaring against the dollar and the euro. Since November, it has gained some 16% against the greenback. It was worth as much as $1.145 earlier on Friday.
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