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Tourist accommodation in 2023 Swiss hotel sector generated a record 41 million overnight stays in 2023

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Overnight stays in the Swiss hotel sector reach new record in 2023/2024 winter season

22.02.2024 - In 2023, the Swiss hotel sector recorded well over 40 million overnight stays (41.8 million), a level never achieved before. This was an increase of 9.2% (+3.5 million) compared with 2022. With a total of 20.8 million overnight stays, domestic demand remained very high although down slightly by 1.1% (-224 000). With 20.9 million units, foreign demand rose by 21.8% (+3.7 million), close to the record level of 2019. These are the final results from the Federal Statistical Office (FSO).

Demand rose for every month in 2023 compared with 2022. Increases ranged from 2.7% (October) to 36.2% (January). The months between April and December recorded the greatest number of overnight stays in the past three decades. After a record-breaking winter tourist season in 2022/2023 (November to April), the summer tourist season of 2023 (May to October) reached a new peak with 24.0 million overnight stays. 

Despite falling, domestic demand remained high 

With a total of 20.8 million overnight stays, domestic demand was slightly down (-224 000/-1,1%) compared with 2022, but the level remained very high. Only the years 2021 and 2022 showed a higher level. This overall decline was mainly due to the months of March to August and October. An increase in overnight stays was seen for all the other months, peaking in January (+18.6%). 

Sharp increase in foreign demand

Despite the unstable international situation and a strong Swiss franc, foreign demand increased by 3.7 million overnight stays (+21.8%) compared with 2022, reaching 20.9 million overnight stays in 2023. This was close to the record levels of 2018 (-2.2%) and 2019 (-3.3%). Growth in demand was strong throughout the year, but particularly so in the first half of the year, with increases close to or above 20% and a peak in January (+65.9%).

This increase in foreign demand was driven mainly by tourists from Asia, registering a total of 4.1 million overnight stays (+1.5 million/+56.4%). However, demand from this continent was lower than in 2019 (−24.0%). The biggest contributor to this increase was China with 495 000 overnight stays (+375 000/+314.2%). This was followed by South Korea (+229 000/+150.5%) and India (+223 000/+58.6%). There was also growth in demand by visitors from the Gulf States (+30 000/+3.6%). Despite these large increases, demand by these visitors was still lower than in 2019. This was particularly true for Chinese visitors (−64.5%). 

Demand from the American continent also hit record numbers with a total of 4.0 million overnight stays (+1 million/+33.2%). The largest absolute increase from this continent came from the United States (+760 000 overnight stays/+33.0%). Overnight stays recorded for these visitors in 2023 reached their highest level since 1985. 

European visitors were also seen in greater numbers, registering 12.1 million overnight stays (+991 000/+9.0%). The United Kingdom saw the biggest absolute increase (+322 000/+23.6%), followed by Germany (+152 000/+4.2%), France (+86 000/+6.6%), Spain (+67 000/+16.3%) and Italy (+62 000/+7.6%). The Netherlands, meanwhile, saw a slight fall in demand (−6 700/-0.9%). When compared with 2019, European demand remained slightly lower (−1.4%). 

Demand from Oceania rose by 231 000 units (+109.3%), totalling 443 000 overnight stays. This was the best result of the past three decades. Africa, with 260 000 overnight stays, also recorded an increase (+27 000/+11.7%) compared with 2022. 

Record numbers in most of the thirteen tourist regions

In 2023, all of Switzerland's tourist regions, with the exception of Graubünden and Ticino, recorded increases in overnight stays compared with 2022. Zurich Region saw the largest increase (+1.0 million/+17.2%), followed by Bern Region (+742 000/+14.1%) and Geneva (+588 000/+19.8%). The regions of Lucerne/Lake Lucerne, Valais and Vaud also saw considerable increases in visitor numbers. Of the thirteen tourist regions, seven recorded the highest number of overnight stays in the last three decades: Zurich Region, Bern Region as well as Lucerne and Lake Lucerne Region.

Seven out of thirteen tourist regions showed a decrease in domestic demand in 2023. As far as foreign demand was concerned, an increase was observed for all tourist regions. 

Increase in room occupancy rates 

In 2023, the net room occupancy rate was 55.0%, an increase of 3.4 points compared with 2022. This was closer to the rate in 2019 (55.2%). Of the thirteen tourist regions, eleven saw an increase. The biggest increases were recorded in the Zurich Region (63.7%/+8.3 points) and Geneva (63.3%/+6.6). Only Ticino and Graubünden saw a fall in occupancy. Compared with 2019, seven tourist regions had a higher occupancy rate in 2023.

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