Tourism in Switzerland

Tourists are drawn to Switzerland's diverse landscape as well as activities. One of the most interesting tourist places are the Alpine climate and landscapes, in particular for skiing and mountaineering.

Switzerland is notable for its landscapes and tourism facilities (Matterhorn from the Gornergrat Railway)

As of 2016, tourism accounted for an estimated 2.6% (CHF 16.8 billion) of Switzerland's gross domestic product, down from 2.6% (CHF 12.8 billion) in 2001.[1]


Tourism began in Switzerland with British mountaineers climbing the main peaks of the Bernese Alps in the early 19th century (Jungfrau 1811, Finsteraarhorn 1812). The Alpine Club in London was founded in 1857. Reconvalescence in the Alpine climate, in particular from Tuberculosis, is another important branch of tourism in the 19th and early 20th centuries for example in Davos, Graubünden. Due to the prominence of the Bernese Alps in British mountaineering, the Bernese Oberland was long especially known as a tourist destination. Meiringen's Reichenbach Falls achieved literary fame as it was the site of the fictional death of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes (1893). The first organised tourist holidays to Switzerland were offered during the 19th century by the Thomas Cook and Lunn Travel companies. Tourism in Switzerland had been exclusively for the rich people[clarification needed] until the 20th century.[citation needed] It started to become more popular and accessible to the general people form early 1900s.[citation needed]


Infographic map of Switzerland

Notable tourist destinations in Switzerland:

Large cities
Smaller cities
Resorts in the Alps
Natural regions


Switzerland comprehends an extensive hiking trail network (here the Schöllenen Gorge on the Gotthard route)


Hiking is one of the main sport activities in Switzerland and is often referred to as the "national sport". About one third of the population practises hiking on a regular basis with a total of 520 million kilometres (in 130 million hours) being travelled every year by the Swiss. Along with cycling, walking in general is the preferred form of mobility, regardless of social origins. The total hiking trail network is about 65'000 kilometres.[2]

Tourist attractionsEdit


Official statistics of tourism were planned since 1852, but were only realized from 1934, and continued until 2003. Since 2004, the Federal Statistical Office had discontinued its own statistics, but collaborates with Switzerland Tourism in the publication of yearly "Swiss Tourism Figures". In the year 2011 as a total number of 4,967 registered hotels or hostels, offering a total of 240,000 beds in 128,000 rooms. This capacity was saturated to 41.7% (compared to 39.7% in 2005), amounting to a total of 38.8 million lodging nights. 14% of hotels were in Grisons, 12% each in the Valais and Eastern Switzerland, 11% in Central Switzerland and 9% in the Bernese Oberland. The ratio of lodging nights in relation to resident population ("tourism intensity", a measure for the relative importance of tourism to local economy) was largest in Grisons (8.3) and Bernese Oberland (5.3), compared to a Swiss average of 1.3. 56.4% of lodging nights were by visitors from abroad (broken down by nationality: 16.5% Germany, 6.3% United Kingdom, 4.8% United States, 3.6% France, 3.0% Italy).[3]

The total financial volume associated with tourism, including transportation, is estimated to CHF 35.5 billion (as of 2010) although some of this comes from fuel tax and sales of motorway vignettes. The total gross value added from tourism is 14.9 billion. Tourism provides a total of 144,838 full time equivalent jobs in the entire country. The total financial volume of tourist lodging is 5.19 billion CHF and eating at the lodging provides an additional 5.19 billion. The total gross value added of 14.9 billion is about 2.9% of Switzerland's 2010 nominal GDP of 550.57 billion CHF.[4][5]

The most visited Swiss tourist attractions are first, the Rhine Falls, second, the Berne Bear exhibit (both without entrance fee), and third, with over 1.8 million paid entries: Zoo Basel.

Jungfrau railway (with Eiger in the background), one of the major tourist attractions of the High Alps (1 million visitors in 2015 (up from 0.866 million in 2014).[6] The Jungfraujoch railway station is the highest in Europe, at an elevation of 3,454 metres (11,332 ft).
Rhine Falls
Antelope House at Zoo Basel, Switzerland's most visited tourist attraction with an entrance fee[7]

Overnight stays by countryEdit

Most overnight stays in 2019 in Switzerland were from the following countries of residence:[8]

Rank Country Number of overnight stays
1   Germany 3,925,653
2   United States 2,474,360
3   United Kingdom 1,641,429
4   China 1,583,799
5   France 1,227,105
6   Italy 887,679
7   Gulf states 863,767
8   India 792,607
9   Netherlands 648,054
10   Belgium 636,425
Total foreign 21,639,611

See alsoEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. ^, 23 February 2018.
  2. ^ Randonnées,
  3. ^ Switzerland Tourism, "Swiss Tourism in Figures - 2007 PDF Archived 2012-03-31 at the Wayback Machine"
  4. ^ Tourism, Federal Statistical Office (Switzerland) (page visited on 7 May 2012).
  5. ^ SECO Gross domestic product - quarterly estimates Archived 2010-09-23 at the Wayback Machine (page visited on 7 May 2012).
  6. ^ Jungfraubahn Holding AG
  7. ^ (in German) Wieder ein Besucherrekord im Zolli. Basler Zeitung, published 2013-2-21, retrieved 2013-2-21
  8. ^ Office, Federal Statistical (2020-11-27). "Swiss tourism in figures 2019 - Structure and Industry". Federal Statistical Office Retrieved 22 September 2021.


External linksEdit

  Media related to Tourism in Switzerland at Wikimedia Commons