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Overnight stays in Switzerland expected to fall by a third in 2020

Tourism will likely be the sector most severely affected by restrictions imposed to fight the pandemic, with the hotel industry alone set to lose CHF1.8 billion ($1.86 billion) in turnover, the KOF Swiss Economic Institute said on Thursday.  

Although the decline in domestic demand should be relatively small over the course of the year (minus 14%), the drop in international demand will be significant, with overnight stays by overseas visitors expected to fall by up to 60% and to return to pre-crisis levels only in 2022.  

Cities are likely to be the hardest hit by the pandemic, with overnight stays projected to halve during the summer months. The Alpine regions may see a 20-30% fall in demand. 

Over the 2019-2020 winter season, overnight stays were down by 23% compared to the same period a year earlier. 

The institute expects the recovery for the sector to begin during the summer season, although the southern canton of Ticino and the Alpine regions will probably recover faster than cities. KOF also said prices in the hospitality sector were likely to go up to compensate for lower occupancy rates and reduced capacity due to ongoing safety measures like social distancing. 

The Swiss Federal Railways and PostBus revealed on Thursday they would re-introduce tourist transport on June 6 and 8 after routes were shut down as a result of Covid-19 restrictions. Mountain railway services and lake ferries will be operating once again.

The Swiss government announced this week that free movement within the Schengen area will be restored by July 6, although the borders with neighbouring France, Germany and Austria will be open from June 15.