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Swiss tourism industry struggling for survival

The Swiss tourism industry will take five years to recover from the coronavirus pandemic with around a quarter of companies in the sector fearing for their future. However, Martin Nydegger, head of Switzerland Tourism, believes something can still be salvaged for the industry this year.

In an interview with the Schweiz am Wochenende newspaper, Nydegger referred to a survey of 4,000 companies in the tourism sector. Some 23% of respondents feared that they would not come through the pandemic crisis unscathed.

It is still not known when Swiss borders will be fully opened with other countries, although June 8 has been earmarked as the start of the third phase of the plan to return the country to normality.

“2020 will be a terrible year. But not everything is lost. January and February were very good months. Now we have had a quarter that was terrible. We have six months from June to save what can be saved,” Nydegger said.

Towns and cities were hit worse than alpine destinations from the downturn in bookings in the last few weeks.

The government has handed Switzerland Tourism CHF40 million ($41 million) to help boost the industry, which has adopted the slogan “Dream now – travel later” to convince Swiss people to take their holidays in their own country.

When asked how long it will take for the industry to recover, Nydegger said: “I fear it will take five years rather than three. The cuts are so deep. In a crises, the impact is always the same: the deterioration is fast and the recovery slow.”