Tourism in Switzerland
Tourists are drawn to Switzerland's diverse landscape as well as activities. One of the most interesting tourist places are the Alpine climate and landscapes, in particular for skiing and mountaineering.
Tourism began in Switzerland with British mountaineers climbing the main peaks of the Bernese Alps in the early 19th century (Jungfrau 1811, Finsteraarhorn 1812). The Alpine Club in London was founded in 1857. Reconvalescence in the Alpine climate, in particular from Tuberculosis, is another important branch of tourism in the 19th and early 20th centuries for example in Davos, Graubünden. Due to the prominence of the Bernese Alps in British mountaineering, the Bernese Oberland was long especially known as a tourist destination. Meiringen's Reichenbach Falls achieved literary fame as it was the site of the fictional death of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes (1893). The first organised tourist holidays to Switzerland were offered during the 19th century by the Thomas Cook and Lunn Travel companies. Tourism in Switzerland had been exclusively for the rich people[clarification needed] until the 20th century. It started to become more popular and accessible to the general people form early 1900s.
Notable tourist destinations in Switzerland:
- Large cities
- Smaller cities
- Resorts in the Alps
- Central Switzerland
- Eastern Switzerland
- Bernese Oberland
- Natural regions
- Bernese Alps, between the Swiss Plateau and Valais, known for its high mountains (notably Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau) and huge glaciers (notably the Aletsch Glacier), and deep valleys with waterfalls like the Lauterbrunnental
- Valais Alps, on the left side of the Rhone valley, contains the highest mountains of the country (notably Monte Rosa and the Matterhorn) and big ski resorts like Zermatt
- Gotthard Massif, with the Gotthard Pass at its heart, notable for the historic Gotthard routes (north-south axis), the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn railway (west-east axis) and the many other high road passes (Nufenen, Grimsel, Furka, Susten, Klausen, Oberalp and Lukmanier)
- Lake Lucerne, largest lake in central Switzerland, notable for the many mountain railways on the surrounding mountains, notably the Rigi and Pilatus Railway
- Lake Geneva, largest lake of the country, notable for the Riviera and the many vineyards
- Lake Constance, second largest lake of the country
- Seeland, the region of Lake Neuchâtel, Lake Biel and Lake Morat
- Jura Mountains, moderately elevated mountain region north of the Swiss Plateau
- Rhine, largest river of the country, also notable for the Rhine Falls
- Italian Lakes, group of lakes on the Italian border (Maggiore and Lugano), notable for being the warmest place in the country
Hiking is one of the main sport activities in Switzerland and is often referred to as the "national sport". About one third of the population practises hiking on a regular basis with a total of 520 million kilometres (in 130 million hours) being travelled every year by the Swiss. Along with cycling, walking in general is the preferred form of mobility, regardless of social origins. The total hiking trail network is about 65'000 kilometres.
Official statistics of tourism were planned since 1852, but were only realized from 1934, and continued until 2003. Since 2004, the Federal Statistical Office had discontinued its own statistics, but collaborates with Switzerland Tourism in the publication of yearly "Swiss Tourism Figures". In the year 2011 as a total number of 4,967 registered hotels or hostels, offering a total of 240,000 beds in 128,000 rooms. This capacity was saturated to 41.7% (compared to 39.7% in 2005), amounting to a total of 38.8 million lodging nights. 14% of hotels were in Grisons, 12% each in the Valais and Eastern Switzerland, 11% in Central Switzerland and 9% in the Bernese Oberland. The ratio of lodging nights in relation to resident population ("tourism intensity", a measure for the relative importance of tourism to local economy) was largest in Grisons (8.3) and Bernese Oberland (5.3), compared to a Swiss average of 1.3. 56.4% of lodging nights were by visitors from abroad (broken down by nationality: 16.5% Germany, 6.3% United Kingdom, 4.8% United States, 3.6% France, 3.0% Italy).
The total financial volume associated with tourism, including transportation, is estimated to CHF 35.5 billion (as of 2010) although some of this comes from fuel tax and sales of motorway vignettes. The total gross value added from tourism is 14.9 billion. Tourism provides a total of 144,838 full time equivalent jobs in the entire country. The total financial volume of tourist lodging is 5.19 billion CHF and eating at the lodging provides an additional 5.19 billion. The total gross value added of 14.9 billion is about 2.9% of Switzerland's 2010 nominal GDP of 550.57 billion CHF.
Overnight stays by country
|Rank||Country||Number of overnight stays|
- List of World Heritage Sites in Switzerland
- List of ski areas and resorts in Switzerland
- Economy of Switzerland
- Geography of Switzerland
- Swiss School of Tourism and Hospitality
Notes and references
- bfs.admin.ch, bazonline.ch 23 February 2018.
- Randonnées, myswitzerland.com
- Switzerland Tourism, "Swiss Tourism in Figures - 2007 PDF Archived 2012-03-31 at the Wayback Machine"
- Tourism, Federal Statistical Office (Switzerland) (page visited on 7 May 2012).
- SECO Gross domestic product - quarterly estimates Archived 2010-09-23 at the Wayback Machine (page visited on 7 May 2012).
- Jungfraubahn Holding AG
- (in German) Wieder ein Besucherrekord im Zolli. Basler Zeitung, published 2013-2-21, retrieved 2013-2-21
- (in French) Christophe Clivaz, Tourisme d'hiver, le défi climatique [literally, "Winter tourism, the climate challenge"], Presses polytechniques et universitaires romandes, collection "Le Savoir suisse", 144 pages, 2015 (ISBN 9782889151516).
- Tourism in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland.