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The Swiss hotel sector saw a new record number of overnight stays in 2018

26.02.2019 – The hotel sector in Switzerland registered 38.8 million overnight stays in 2018, i.e. the best result to date. This represented a growth of 3.8% (+1.4 million) compared with 2017. Foreign demand totalled 21.4 million units, an increase of 4.5% (+921 000) and its best performance in 10 years. Swiss overnight stays increased by 2.9% (+493 000), thus reaching the record value of 17.4 million overnight stays. These are the final results from the Federal Statistical Office (FSO).

In 2018, every month registered an increase in overnight stays compared with the same period the previous year. This varied between +0.6% (October) and +6.0% (January). In absolute terms, the greatest increases were seen in August (+214 000 overnight stays / +5.0%) and in June (+183 000 / +5.3%).

Overnight stays 2018

Overnight stays 2018

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Record for Swiss clientele and strong increase in foreign demand

In 2018, Swiss demand totalled 17.4 million overnight stays (+493 000 / +2.9%), a level never seen before. Foreign demand reached 21.4 million, a marked increase of 921 000 units (+4.5%). European demand confirmed the improvement that began in 2017 with an increase of 393 000 overnight stays (+3.3%). Among the countries from this continent, Germany (+147 000 / +3.9%) contributed the most to this growth. This was followed by France (+41 000 / +3.3%), the United Kingdom (+37 000 / +2.3%), Spain (+32 000 / +7.1%) and the Netherlands (+27 000 / +4.5%). In contrast, Austria registered a marked decline of 25 000 overnight stays (-6.2%). It was followed by Turkey (–13 000 / –10.9%).

The American continent (+249 000 overnight stays / +8.9%) saw strong growth. Within this continent, the United States saw the greatest absolute increase of all foreign countries of origin with an additional 206 000 units (+10.1%). Demand from these guests thus reached a total of 2.3 million units, i.e. its highest level since 1990. Canada followed with an increase of 23 000 overnight stays (+9.4%).

Demand from Asian visitors recorded a growth of 247 000 overnight stays (+4.8%). Among the countries of origin of these visitors, China (excluding Hong Kong) generated the greatest rise, i.e. an additional 80 000 units (+6.3%). India followed with an increase of 71 000 overnight stays (+9.6%). The Gulf countries also registered a rise (+26 000 / +2.9%). After several years of growth, the Republic of Korea produced a stable result (–960 / –0.2%). In contrast, Japan recorded a decrease of 26 000 overnight stays (-6.3%) and thus posted the largest absolute decline of all foreign countries.

Finally, demand from the continents of Oceania (+24 000 overnight stays / +6.5%) and Africa (+7600 / +2.8%) also increased.

Total overnight stays 2018

Total overnight stays 2018

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Increase in overnight stays for most tourist regions

Of the thirteen tourist regions, eleven recorded increases in overnight stays in 2018 compared with 2017. Six of these even recorded increases equal to or greater than 5.0%. In first place, Zurich Region recorded an additional 325 000 overnight stays (+5.4%), i.e. the greatest absolute increase. This was followed by Graubünden (+279 000 / +5.7%) and Bern Region (+256 000 / +5.0%). Then came Lucerne/Lake Lucerne (+214 000 / +5.9%), Valais (+206 000 / +5.3%) and Geneva (+178 000 / +5.8%). In contrast, Ticino recorded a marked decrease of 184 000 overnight stays, i.e. a decrease of 7.5%.

Stability in length of stay

In 2018, the length of stay was 2.0 nights as it was in 2017. Foreign visitors stayed on average for 2.1 nights, slightly longer than domestic visitors (1.9). Among the tourist regions, Graubünden recorded the longest stay with 2.7 nights. This was followed by Valais with 2.3 nights. In contrast, the shortest stay was registered in the Fribourg Region with 1.6 nights.

Slight increase in room occupancy rates

During 2018, the net room occupancy rate reached 54.5% (compared with 52.9% in 2017). Of all tourist regions, Geneva showed the highest rate at 67.2%. This was followed by Zurich Region with a rate of 65.7%. The lowest rate was 41.4%, which was recorded in Eastern Switzerland.


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Swiss Statistics
The Swiss Federal Statistics Office publishes information on the situation and developments in Switzerland in a multitude of fields and plays a part in enabling comparisons at an internal level.
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