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SWISS MARKET DATA

 

Economic Data

 

Swiss Economic Outlook 2022/23                                                                               (revised April 2022)

Latest Swiss economic data indicate that the recovery from the previous two years of pandemics is being hampered by the unexpected Ukraine war. Prominent institutes such as KOF lowered their growth forecasts to 2.7 percent down from the former 3 percent for the current year.  Main reasons are a latent drop in consumer spending as well as investments and higher prices for energy, transportation and raw materials. The manufacturing industry also struggles with interupted or instable supply lines. The countries export oriented industry so far has been doing quite well inspite of the increasingly strong Swiss Franc (safe heaven currency) and resulting higher prices for its products. The inflationary pressure appears to be largely compensated  by the low local inflation of some 2.4 percent as opposed to the US or the EU with 6.6 - 8.5 percent. The economic recovery is driven, in particular, by the chemicals/pharmaceuticals industries whereas the financial/banking sectors lost its "drive" due to the Ukraine war.  Switzerland which imports about one quarter of its food as well as virtually all raw materials and fossile energy is now taking adventage of its strong currency.  The purchasing power of the average Swiss is still little affected. However, as the worldwide challenges keep growing a latent reluctency in spending appears to show on the horizon which may also impact on travel.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            (source KOF & SECO)

R & D

Investments in R&D at the forefront of technology continue at 3.4 percent of the GDP of which two thirds are private sector financed. On a per capita basis it ranks Switzerland within the worldwide leading nations. The country is also at the top of the list of new patents published by the Intl. Patent Office just recently   ETH in Zurich and EPFL in Lausanne rank among the world's leading universities

Financial standing

Switzerland enjoys a financial healthy position compared to neighboring countries. The national dept, as a result of Corona related additonal cost, rose to 25.8 percent (in relation to the GDP) by the end of 2020.  Reserves available to cushion expected 2021 expenses should "protect" the future high credit rating of the country.

The Swiss Franc keeps its role as an international “Safe-Haven” currency. The effect of the weakness of the EURO vs the Swiss Franc (affecting Swiss export prices to the EU)  is being dampened by the much higher inflation in the EURO zone. The USD gained in value fluctuating at an exchange rate of approx. 0.96 CHF up from 0.92 CHF  Switzerland’s National Bank (SNB) stands ready to stabilize the exchange rates as required.

Market Data

The following 2020 data are intended to allow a better understanding and ranking of the Swiss market within the European economic context.  Switzerland, although economically closely linked, is not a member of the EU.

Population, GDP and Per Capital Income of a selection of countries    (all in billion EUROS) 

Country

Germany

UK

France

Italy

Holland

Sweden

Austria

Ireland

Belgium

Switzerland

Population

83.9

68.2

65.4

60.4

17.2

10.1

9.0

5

11.6

8.7

GDP

3336

2284

2279

1652

799

475

378

367

451

656

GDP Per Capita

39.8

33.5

34.8

27.4

46.5

47

42

73.4

38.9

75.4

Income and purchasing power comparison 

Income and purchasing power are of  particular interest for the travel and tourism industry.  EUROSTAT**
data covering the per capita incomes of the 3 DACH countries compare as follows: 
Germany 23'637; Austria 24'232
(EUROS); Switzerland 40'739 (in CHF)  Basis exchange rate EURO/CHF 1 vs. 1.08

Purchasing power parities based on national currencies

 

GDP

Effective individual
consumption

Effective collective
consumption

Gross financial  
invstments

Switzerland (in CHF)

1,72625

1,94020

2,00509

1,51874

Germany(in EUR)

1,10576

1,07781

1,23754

1,20796

France (in EUR)

1,08767

1,09955

1,23837

1,02008

Italy in EUR)

0,99539

1,02940

1,07540

0,87903

Austria (in EUR)

1,13661

1,18478

1,17158

1,05062

EU (27 countries in EUR)

1,00000

1,00000

1,00000

1,00000

**EU without UK. Source EUROSTAT 15.12.2020    

 
2022/23 Swiss economic and political position in Europe and outlook

Inspite of its small geographic size, Switzerland is Europe's seventh largest economy, the EU's third ranking trading partner and the top foreign direct investor. Located in the very center of the European continent, with a multilingual, multicultural society,  Switzerland is not a EU member inspite of its close historical, cultural and linguistic relations.  EU membership is presently rejected by some 80 percent of the population.  Nearly 25 percent of the resident population are foreign nationals, mostly from the EU.  The country is an important workplace for over 1.5 million foreigners including some 340'000 crossing the borders daily for work. The Worldbank estimates that they alone transfer yearly the equivalent of some 3.4b USD to their home countries.  The EU, resp. its member states are the main trading partners. However exports  to countries outside of Europe nearly doubled within recent years exceeding now over 40 percent of total.  

Wheras Swiss bilateral relations to most European nations are excellent, relations to the EU per se remain  less harmonious.  Negotiations initiated at the request of the EU for a closer political integration failed after 7 years. The Swiss political system known as "direct democracy"  (allowing citizens to decide about taxes, regulations, agreements etc.) appears to be hardly compatible with the EU's goals of further centralization and close institutional integration. New negotiations are intended to start in the course of 2022.  It is one of the main political issues, also domestically, waiting for a mutually acceptable solution. 

 



 



              

 

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Worldwide Travel

 

(revised January 2022)

Profile of Swiss Travellers 

The small size of Switzerland, historically has forced its people to look beyond their borders, particularly with the beginning of the industrialization in the 19th century.  Most Swiss speak one or several languages of their neighboring countries (French, Italian, German).  Cross border business, travel and close personal relations have a long tradition. Old established international networks since the 19th century, particularely in Asia can still be found.  Swiss are ardent travellers as a result used to follow what is happening internationally.

Living in a multiligual (4 official languages) resp. multicultural country facilitates people to respect, adjust and cope with foreign environments. Language barriers, as a result, are rather low and English e.g. is widely spoken.  Swiss tend to be rather well informed about international politics and relevant issues, particularly in major and neighboring countries. Incomes and an attractive purchasing power allows them to ecape the "narrow borders" of their country and discover the world. In 2018 each resident did an average of 3.5 foreign trips with at least 3 overnights  They spent an average of $ 258.00* per day and person (domestic and foreign travel).  Swiss appreciate service, cleanness, punctuality and quality and are willing to pay for it.  They like to travel individually or in small groups, enjoy meeting the local population and avoid crowds.

Booking behavior: 71 percent of all travel (2018) was booked online (incl. sites of TO's or individual travel agencies).  The percentage of "do-it-yourself" dropped to seven percent from 13 percent in 2014 for safety reasons, in particular. About 27 percent use the personal service of  travel agencies (totalling USD 7 billion sales in 2018) Long haul and complex travel is often booked via travel agencies for reasons of safety, support and comfort. German speaking Swiss appear to be more safety minded than their French or Italian speaking counterparts. Many young people book at travel agencies to overcome limitations in the use of credit cards
                                                                                                                        *average exchange rate March 2019: 1.00 USD = 0.99 Swiss Francs.  

Travel Industry Structure/Data 

The structure of Switzerland's travel trade is subject to considerable changes due to Corona and the resulting challenges. Updated data will be provided as soon as available.  Before the pandemics the Switzerland's travel trade consisted of some 1100 so-called Class A and about 450 Class B travel agencies. 

Largest companies include:

- Hotelplan Group          - Kuoni Travel (DER)
- TUI Suisse                 - Knecht Reisen AG
- FTI                             - Globetrotter

Average gross profit margine before Corona was 15.6% (travel agencies). 2019 sales grew by 3.3 percent over the previous year.  Travel agencies charge their clients a handling resp. counselling fee of  some $ 60.00 which may be waived depending the total cost of a package.  

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US Travel

 

Revised January 2022

A total of 474'550 people from Switzerland visited the U.S.in 2019.  The steady pre Corona upwards trend since 2017 shows  a plus of 7.12%!   Below graphic displays the overall stable market over the past 25 years besides all fluctuations with the alltime record of over 536'000 arrivals in 2015 (probably triggered by the low rate of exchange USD/CHF of 1/0.72 in 2013/14) Considering the limited size of the Swiss market it is assumed that many have taken several trips to the US per year.

Although daily life is still affected by COVID19,  the "Swiss appetite" for future travel to the US appears to be growing fast. It shows by the number of inquiries about relevant immigration rules and limitations. There is a general feeling of optimism once the situation will begin to "normalize".  People have money to spend on travel after nearly two years of restrictions

   Rate of exchange applied:   1 U.S. $ = 0.97. Swiss Franc.  
  2020 arrivals 63'321; 2021 arrivals 56084; 2022 arrivals (Jan- March) 36'451

Comment: As opposed to some media reports Swiss travel to the U.S. is mostly driven by the rate of exchange USD vs. CHF.  Political events such changing Administrations etc. seem to have little effect. 
 
 
AIRLINES WITH DIRECT SERVICE BETWEEN THE U.S. AND SWITZERLAND (before Corona)
Airline
Ex Zurich Ex Geneva
Swiss Intl. Airlines New York New Yorknnnnnnnn
American Airlines New York  

United Airlines

Washington D.C.,  Newark NY,  San Francisco CA
Washington D.C.
Delta Air Lines Atlanta,  New York  
United Airlines New York New York
Edelweiss Air
Tampa Bay, FL;  Las Vegas,  NV;  San Diego, CA,  Denver CO
   

Profile of average Swiss traveller to the U.S.

Swiss travellers like to discover the US individually or in small groups with friends making use of the well developped US travel infrastructure which is considered a “trademark” of the mobile American society.  It leaves them creativity in doing some "own" on-site planning.  Larger groups are mostly "special interest" such as trade associations, senior citizens, readers travel, (magazines) etc.  The average Swiss traveller is well informed about U.S. politics and life. Most have an above average purchasing power due to high incomes.  Swiss attach importance to punctuality, quality of service, food and good accommodation and are willing to pay  for it. These aspects are more important to 54 percent than the price which has priority to 35 percent (2018 Alliance Insurance Intl. study) Most speak at least basic English. Spring and Fall have become increasingly popular for US trips.  Although worldwide security problems are a matter of growing concern the U.S. is still considered by most a "safe destination. 

As shown on above graphic the rate of exchange impacts greatly on the volume of travel to the US, particularly if it allows to be a financially attractive alternative to destinations "less far away".  Spending per person and day in the U.S. is USD 295.00. 
 
What are Swiss travellers looking for in the U.S.?
The majority of Swiss enjoy meeting local Americans.  They like the easy contact and accessibility.  Authenticity is important. Big cities with cultural and sports events, shopping, sightseeing and restaurants are popular.  The friendly hospitality of American small town communities and their lifestyle are most appreciated.  Cities with a fascinating multiethnical, cultural and historical background like  San Francisco, New Orleans, Miami,  Boston, Chicago  and New York are "musts" as well as nature and wildlife (national parks and forests);  native Americans;  Western lifestyle (horses, BBQ, dude farms);  outdoor activities (jeep tours, river rafting, helicopter rides, biking).  In past years the beautifull, little croweded beaches made the US a tempting alternative to traditional beach vacations in Europe or in politically less stable countries. Typical American sports  (rodeos, baseball, American football) less known to the Swiss are popular.  They enjoy the excitment at such events.  American hospitality is an asset  and an occasional touch of American nostalgia is appreciated, in particular by people of 45  years of age and more. The Swiss are open to new, less known regions, states and parks - somewhat off the tourist mainstream.  This also applies to whole regions, cities, hotels etc. off-the-beaten-tracks. 
 
Where do they go?

You may find Swiss all over, increasingly off the beaten tracks.  They like to travel on their own.  Making on-site complementary arrangements is popular - where they like it.. (event bookings, extensions, excursions). .   The high percentage of repeat visitors is reflected by the interest in less known or new destinations.  Popular states and regions are:  New York (NYC)  California, South West (AZ, UT, NM, NV), Florida, Alaska, New England States South (FL, GA, SC, LA, KY, TN), Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Hawaii,  Oregon, Wash. State,  Texas,  Mid-Western States/Great Lake States. 

 
Within Switzerland Promotional Opportunities
Visit USA Seminar - This well established workshop and exhibit had to be cancelled due to Covid19 in 2021 and 2022.   The Visit USA Seminar has an over 25 years history as a promotional tool which contributed greatly to the amazing success of Swiss travel to the US. A newly developed and adapted concept is in preparation for launch after Corona

USA Road Show - Scheduled for April 5 - 7, 2022 health related conditions permitting. The Road Show is a popular promotional complement of the Visit USA Seminar to provide additional exposure in a smaller, more personal environment. It covers an average of 5 cities in several days

in German and French speaking Switzerland.

Miscellaneous events in cooperation and support of TheBrandUSA and other partners

         

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