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Hotel sector sees gloomy outlook

Urban hotels have been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus effect on business and international tourism. Keystone / Urs Flueeler

Swiss hotels are predicting a worsening outlook, as newspapers warn thousands of jobs could be lost in the sector.

According to the latest survey by sector association HotellerieSuisse  at the beginning of this month, more than a third of hotels (37%) say they will have to lay off staff in the coming months. The rate is particularly high in cities (59%).

Thousands of jobs could be lost in the sector in the next six months, warn Le Matin Dimanche and NZZ am Sonntag newspapers. Some 80,000 people work in the sector, according to Le Matin Dimanche.

Hotellerie Suisse said on Sunday that for a large majority of hotels (66%), this summer season was significantly worse than last year throughout Switzerland. Although more Swiss people spent vacations in rural and alpine regions, this did not make up for the absence of foreign tourists.

In the coming months, “the hotels are clearly expecting a reduced number of guests and significant losses in turnover”, says HotellerieSuisse. Seventy percent of hotels in all regions expect a worse winter season than last year. And urban hotels are particularly pessimistic, with 90% expecting a clear decline in the situation.

The sector association is calling for rapid coronavirus testing instead of quarantine, harmonization of European travel regulations and targeted support measures from the government.

“The current rules jeopardize the profitability of the establishments, thus increasing the danger that they will have to close down unnecessarily,” it says. “Entire teams of employees are often quarantined. In addition, travellers are discouraged from coming to Switzerland.”

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