Up the Alps and Out of Town. A Busy Summer for Swiss Tourism

3. September 2021 (in Deutsch / en Francais)

Over the past 8 weeks card-payments for accommodation in Switzerland were 20% higher than in the same period of 2020 and 10% than in 2019. Domestic spending by Swiss consumers on accommodation maintained its high level from the 2020 staycation period (+0.7%). This year though, accommodation turnover was bolstered by a 76% y-o-y increase in spending by foreign tourists. That said, foreign spending on accommodation in Switzerland remains low compared to its pre-covid level of 2019 (-28%).

Figure 1. Weekly card payments at Merchants in the category “Accommodation” in Million CHF, by Origin of Cardholder.

However, not all areas of the country have benefited from Staycation 2021 and the recovery of foreign tourism. Over the past 8 weeks, card payments for accommodation exceeded their 2019 levels by 31% in rural areas. By contrast accommodation spending in city centers was 13% below the pre-covid level for the same period of the year.

Figure 2. Weekly card payments at Merchants in the category “Accommodation” in Million CHF, by Agglomeration type.

Also, while overall foreign tourism has recovered strongly compared to 2020 card spending (for all merchant categories) confirm that this has been dominated by European guests, while overseas guests are still to return in significant numbers. In the past 8 weeks spending by German and French cardholders in Switzerland exceeded their 2019 levels by 13%. By comparison spending by Chinese cardholders was 85% lower than in the same period of 2019.

Figure 3. Weekly card payments in all merchant categories in Million CHF, by Cardholder Origin.