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Swiss Enchantments Attracting American Travelers


Do you know these famous stereotypes about countries around the world?

By Kerry Medina, TravelPulse

Without question, Switzerland continues to gain popularity with U.S. travelers. American arrivals increased more than 12 percent in 2017 over 2016—marking the eighth consecutive year of growth in American visitors, according to data from Switzerland Tourism. In 2009 the number of American travelers to the country increased by more than 50 percent, with 2017 featuring the second-highest number of American visitors—957,796—to the country in 25 years.

“American travelers are flocking to Switzerland for a number of reasons, including a stronger U.S. dollar to the Swiss franc, additional airlift and the booming Rhine river cruise market—which brings pre- and post-cruise stays to Basel, where most of the cruises begin or end,” said Alex Herrmann, Switzerland Tourism’s director, Americas.

In fact, the number of Americans who overnighted in Swiss hotels in 2017 was up more than 11 percent over 2016—and it’s not just Basel that they’re visiting. The most popular destinations for the 2.05 million Americans who booked rooms in 2017 were the Zurich and Geneva regions as well as Lake Lucerne and its surrounding areas.

Herrmann noted that the national tourism organization is also promoting other regions of the country to U.S. travelers. “Ticino is a beautiful area that’s very close to Italy’s Lake Como, and although the Swiss love to go to this part of Switzerland and the Germans discovered it a long time ago, it’s a less-frequented part of the country by American travelers,” he said.

Switzerland is also expanding its portfolio of hotel offerings. New properties include the 111-room Hard Rock Hotel, which opened in Davos in December; and the 383-room Bürgenstock Resort Lake Lucerne, a luxury property with a nine-hole golf course and curling rink. The budget brand Motel One also debuted a 400-room property this past summer in Zurich.

The scope of new hotels speaks to the overall range of travel experiences available in Switzerland, which Herrmann described as “a premium destination” where a three-star hotel is likely to be a higher-end experience than in other countries. “Usually breakfast is included, and there’s no such thing as resort fees in Switzerland,” he said. Switzerland also offers a range of small- and mid-sized accommodations, which include value-oriented and family-friendly properties.

Airlift is also expanding. From North America, there are currently 136 flights per week to Switzerland. The country is served by 15 gateways across the U.S. and Canada, with new direct service from San Diego to Zurich twice weekly from Swiss carrier Edelweiss, which also launched service from Orlando in January. This summer, the airline will offer service twice weekly from Denver and up to four times weekly from Vancouver. “Even though Switzerland is a small country, there are a great number of direct connections that make it easily accessible from the U.S. and Canada,” Herrmann.

In terms of demographics, the average American traveler to Switzerland is 60. But there’s also a younger contingent of Americans discovering Switzerland’s nature-based adventure travel and the myriad dining, shopping and cultural offerings of its urban destinations, according to Switzerland Tourism. Swiss Travel Pass holders can take advantage of free admission at 500 local museums.

Skiers and snowboarders will appreciate Swiss International Air Lines’ policy for all North America flights to Switzerland, which provides complimentary transport of boots, a helmet and a pair of skis or a snowboard, as well as the standard complimentary baggage allowance.

Non-skiers can enjoy the country’s holiday markets and décor in early to mid-December, and take advantage of the lower rates, great weather and thinner crowds in September and October.

“Of major appeal to American travelers is the notion of Switzerland as a winter wonderland,” Herrmann said. “People want to feel at home and immersed in the local scene and local culture.”


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Travel - U.S. Daily News: Swiss Enchantments Attracting American Travelers
Swiss Enchantments Attracting American Travelers
Travel - U.S. Daily News
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