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New record for overnight stays for the Swiss hotel sector in 2019

27.02.2020 – In 2019, the Swiss hotel sector registered 39.6 million overnight stays. This represented growth of 1.9% (+755 000) compared with 2018 and constitutes a new record. This result confirms the upward trend started in 2017. Foreign demand totalled 21.6 million overnight stays which represents an increase of 1.1% (+246 000), i.e. a level of overnight stays never seen before. Swiss demand increased by 2.9% (+509 000), reaching the record value of 17.9 million overnight stays. These are the final results from the Federal Statistical Office (FSO).

Although during the first two months decreases were observed in 2019 (January: –1.2% and February: –2.5%), the other months showed an increase compared with the previous year. These increases varied between +0.3% (September) and +5.2% (June). In absolute terms, the greatest increases were seen in June (+187 000 overnight stays / +5.2%), July (+146 000 / + 3.3%) and in May (+132 000 / +4.6%).

Overnight Stays 2019

Overnight Stays 2019

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Record for Swiss clientele and foreign demand

In 2019, Swiss demand totalled 17.9 million overnight stays (+509 000 / +2.9%), a new record. With 21.6 million overnight stays (+246 000 / +1.1%), foreign demand also registered a level never seen before.

The American continent registered a strong increase (+234 000 overnight stays / +7.7%). Visitors from the United States generated a total of 2.5 million overnight stays, the highest level since 1990. Compared with 2018, this result corresponds to an increase of an additional 222 000 units (+9.8%). This is also the greatest absolute increase of all foreign countries of origin.

Demand from the Asian continent increased slightly (+22 000 overnight stays /+0.4%). Clientele from the markets of China (excluding Hong Kong) (+2.4%), from Hong Kong (+22.9%) and from China (Taiwan) (+23.7%) registered the greatest increase in overnight stays. These visitors contributed to the total increase of 118 000 overnight stays (+6.9%) compared with 2018. Japan also registered an increase (+6900 / +1.8%). Visitors from the Gulf countries recorded a decrease of 82 000 overnight stays (–8.7%) and thus posted the largest absolute decline of all countries. The Republic of Korea (–4.0% / –18 000) and India (–2.1% / –17 000) also saw a decline of overnight stays. These decreases showed a change in trend in the clientele of these countries compared with the strong annual increases regularly observed during the last decade.

The demand from visitors from the European continent shows a slightly negative result (–26 000 / –0.2%). Among the countries of this continent, the largest absolute decrease was registered by Italy (–32 000 / –3.5%) and Spain (–29 000/ –6.0%). The United Kingdom (–11 000 / –0.7%) and France (–8800 /–0.7%) also saw a decrease. Demand from Germany saw an increase (+34 000 / +0.9%). Belgium (+26 000 / +4.3%) and the Netherlands (+15 000 / +2.4%) for their part also registered marked increases.

Finally, demand from the continents of Oceania (+9400 overnight stays / +2.4%) and Africa (+6000 / +2.1%) also increased.

Total Overnight Stays, 2019 vs. 2018

Total Overnight Stays, 2019 vs. 2018

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Increase in overnight stays for most tourist regions

Of the thirteen tourist regions, eleven of these recorded increases in overnight stays in 2019 compared with 2018. In first place, the Zurich region recorded an additional 247 000 overnight stays (+3.9%), i.e. the greatest absolute increase. This was followed by Valais (+131 000 / +3.2%) and Graubünden (+124 000 / +2.4%). Then came the Bern Region (+83 000 / +1.6%), the Lucerne/Lake Lucerne region (+50 000 / +1.3%) and Lake Geneva Region (+47 000 / +1.6%). Finally, Geneva (–30 000 / –0.9%) and Eastern Switzerland (–42 000 / –2.2%) recorded a decrease.

Stability in length of stay

In 2019, the length of stay was 2.0 nights as it was in 2018. 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 2.6 nights. This was followed by Valais with 2.3 nights. In contrast, the shortest stay was registered in the region of Fribourg with 1.6 nights.

Increase in room occupancy rates

During 2019, the net room occupancy rate exceeded the 55% mark (55.2%), with a 0.7 point increase on 2018. It was the highest rate recorded since the start of observation of this indicator (2005). Of all tourist regions, Geneva showed the highest rate at 66.5%. This was followed by the region of Zurich with a rate of 65.0%. The lowest rate was 41.1%, which was recorded in Eastern Switzerland.

Download press release: New record for overnight stays for the Swiss hotel sector in 2019

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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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