Tourists are drawn to Switzerland’s diverse landscape as well as activities. Most interesting are the Alpine climate and landscapes, in particular for skiing and mountaineering. Located in the heart of Europe, Switzerland is a landlocked and mountainous country, the beauty of which bewitch your senses. About two-third of Switzerland is covered with forests, lakes, and mountains.
The Alpine mountains stretch across the Balkans to France, making Switzerland the perfect skiing destination. During the summer, Switzerland is a hiking paradise. There are different sized mountains, and the views are amazing. The lakes and cities are also must-visit places in Switzerland, but the most special ones are the towns.
Steeped in history, cities such as Zurich, Geneva, and Lausanne offer excellent museums and galleries, historic buildings, and renowned music festivals. The capital is Bern with a stunning medieval old town hugging the crook of a river. Germany, Italy, Austria and France border Switzerland, and their languages and customs infuse this country with a multicultural sophistication. Zurich is the largest town in the country, and also the global center for banking and finance. It attracts tourists with its bounty of museums, art galleries, boating and hiking opportunities. Lucerne is one of the prettiest cities that boasts 14th-century Chapel Bridge and Water Tower whereas Geneva is known for its fine-trimmed parks. Adventure seekers often visit the towns of Zermatt and Lausanne in the country for they are famous for challenging hikes and steep ski slopes.
In 2018, tourism contributed 2.9% to Swiss GDP and employed 181 700 people (full-time equivalents), corresponding to 4.4% of total employment. International travel receipts were CHF 16.6 billion, representing 4.1% of total exports. Travel exports accounted for 13.4% of total service exports in 2018.
In 2018, 11.7 million international tourists were recorded, registering 21.4 million overnight stays. This figure represents 55.1% of the national 38.8 million overnight stays registered in the hotel sector – a record high. Compared to the previous year, nights in hotel establishments by international tourists increased by 4.5%.
The most important foreign source market remains Germany, representing 18.9% of international overnight tourists. Between 2008 and 2017, the number of nights taken by German tourists dropped each year, driven in part by the strong Swiss franc. However, in 2018, the number of nights from Germany has increased (+6.9%). Another important trend is the number of overnight stays taken by tourists from the United States: from 2011 growth has been consistent, rising from 1.5 million to 2.3 million overnight stays in 2018, a 51% increase. Consequently, the United States now represents the second most important source market after Germany.
Domestic tourism has also shown growth each year since 2013, with a record high of 17.4 million nights in hotels and similar establishments 2018.