• Switzerland's news in English
 

Swiss angry as Italy charges Chinese tourists

AFP · 19 Jul 2012, 13:54

Published: 19 Jul 2012 13:54 GMT+02:00

The checks, introduced systematically in the last few weeks by the Italians, are "very unpleasant and bad for the image (of Switzerland)", said spokeswoman Veronique Kanel from Suisse Tourisme, the national tourist board.

"The majority (of visitors) are visiting Europe for the first time. Their first impression is very important, and if their experience isn't good, they might think twice about coming back," said Kanel.

Chinese tour operators have also complained about the systematic checks, carried out at the Chiasso customs post.

Their clients are stopped by the busload after visiting the Swiss canton of Ticino, home to Fox Town, one of the biggest shopping outlets in Europe.

If the tourists are found to have purchased items in Switzerland, they are asked to pay an additional 21 percent to bring the items into Italy.

The Italian customs officers "are within their rights to do this", said Kanel, "but it starts to become a problem when big groups are involved".

The 21-percent charge can be reclaimed once the visitors leave Italy to return home, said Kanel: in practice however, their busy schedules and delays in handling their requests mean that they go home empty-handed.

At 350 francs ($360) a day per person Chinese tourists are among the biggest spenders in Switzerland.

Only visitors from the Gulf states spend more, with a budget of 500 francs a day, according to the Federal Office of Statistics.

Michel Bachar, spokesman for Switzerland's Romandie Federal Tax Office, said he was "surprised by the practice, since it involves a massive and unnecessary amount of work".

Visitors were asked to pay the tax on purchases "from time to time" by Swiss customs, Bachar added, "but only when there is a serious doubt about where the merchandise is going".

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
US Open tennis
Federer advances after effortless win over Mayer
Federer: off to a fast start. Photo: Getty Images/AFP

Federer advances after effortless win over Mayer

7 hours ago

Swiss tennis ace Roger Federer advanced to the second round of the US Open on Tuesday by defeating Argentina's Leonardo Mayer 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 in sweltering conditions at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Zurich's Dolder Grand named best Swiss hotel
The Dolder Grand hotel. Photo: Switzerland Tourism

Zurich's Dolder Grand named best Swiss hotel

9 hours ago

It was good enough for Justin Bieber when he visited Switzerland a couple of years ago and now Gault&Millau is giving Zurich’s Dolder Grand Hotel the thumbs up.

Get wise to Swiss duties on stuff bought abroad
Photo: Federal Customs Administration

Get wise to Swiss duties on stuff bought abroad

11 hours ago

Swiss import duties designed to protect the domestic economy can be a killjoy for ‘shopping tourists’ in Switzerland seeking bargains across the border or online. But Emily Rose Mawson discovers there are ways to avoid paying through the nose for those purchases from abroad.

Mediterranean migrant count continues to rise

13 hours ago

More than 350,000 migrants have risked their lives crossing the Mediterranean this year, and some 2,600 have died while making the perilous journey to Europe, the Geneva-based International Organization for Migration said on Tuesday.

Anger over autistic kid kicked off Swiss plane
Photo: AFP

Anger over autistic kid kicked off Swiss plane

18 hours ago

Swiss International Air Lines is facing embarrassment after it kicked an Israeli family off a flight to Geneva from Zurich because their eight-year-old autistic boy was crying uncontrollably.

Federer starts bid for sixth US Open title
Photo: AFP

Federer starts bid for sixth US Open title

20 hours ago

Switzerland's Roger Federer gets his bid to become the oldest US Open winner in 45 years underway on Tuesday but the five-time champion will be overshadowed by Andy Murray's clash with enfant terrible Nick Kyrgios.

Former ski star Cuche denies drunk driving rap
Photo: Christian Jansky

Former ski star Cuche denies drunk driving rap

21 hours ago

Didier Cuche, former World Cup alpine ski champion, appeared in court in the canton of Neuchâtel on Monday to contest a 6,900-franc fine and other criminal sanctions imposed by justice officials for seven alleged road traffic act infractions, including drunken driving.

Tram kills Canadian tourist in Zurich crossing
The streetcar involved was a tram 2000 similar to the one pictured here. Photo: VBZ

Tram kills Canadian tourist in Zurich crossing

1 day ago

Zurich city police are looking for witnesses after a 56-year-old Canadian woman visiting Switzerland was struck and killed by a streetcar on Monday.

Iconic Swiss train heads to Swedish museum
Photo: SBB

Iconic Swiss train heads to Swedish museum

1 day ago

One of Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) emblematic locomotives headed out of the country on Monday for a final trip — to a transport museum in Sweden.

Seven climbers and hikers die in Swiss Alps
View of the Täschhorn near Saas Fee. Photo: Valais cantonal police

Seven climbers and hikers die in Swiss Alps

1 day ago

At least seven people died in the Swiss Alps while climbing or hiking at the weekend, police report.

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS

National
Switzerland set to test world's longest train tunnel under the Alps
National
US right-wing think tank: Swiss are freest people in Europe
National
Bottoms up: new signs alert visitors to Zurich's nudist bathing zones
Sport
Swiss man smashes cliff jumping record with 59-metre dive
National
Climate change seen as plus for Switzerland's wine growers
Photo: Federal Housing Office
National
Buying home in Switzerland is 'cheaper than renting'
National
Central bank to launch new high-tech banknotes — six years late
National
Swiss speed climber summits all 4,000m peaks in the Alps
National
Report: Switzerland is world's safest country (barring extreme sports)
National
Where are the top ten spots to visit in Switzerland for tourists?
National
Two Japanese climbers found dead after scaling Matterhorn's summit
National
High Geneva accommodation costs force unpaid UN intern to live in tent
National
Zurich farmer ordered to remove cow bells after noise complaints
National
Gays file criminal complaint against Swiss bishop over speech
National
The Expat Guide: Moving to Switzerland
National
Briton who ends life in Switzerland: 'Ideal shelf life for people is 70'
National
Aargau farmer under fire after pigs gassed to death by own excrement
National
Cows trample German woman to death in Graubünden Alps
National
Hot times: Swiss city to host first naked performance festival
Features
Expat American author's time in Zurich inspires racy bestseller
National
10 amazing places to be on Swiss National Day — or any other day
National
Swiss army pilfers water from French lake for cows in Switzerland
National
Swiss Army airlifts water to thirsty cows facing drought conditions
International
Canary Islands: diver killed in collision with Swiss windsurfer
National
VIDEO: Seagull steals camera for amazing bird's eye selfie
Switzerland celebrates first ascent of Matterhorn
Politics
Immigrant recruits may not be loyal: Swiss defence minister
Solar Impulse 2 round-the-world flight halted for repairs
Society
Teenager gets high on vegetarian meal at Zurich club
National
Greece seeks tax revenues from assets 'hidden' in Swiss banks
Culture
Paris police arrest Swiss artist for naked Eiffel Tower selfies
National
Scientists uncover largest Swiss dinosaur skeleton ever found
National
National weather office extends danger alerts as heatwave takes hold
National
Most severe heatwave in Switzerland since 2003 on the way
Travel
Bogglingly expensive Geneva club sandwiches remain 'priciest in world'
Politics
Anti-immigration nationalist party remains most popular: poll
National
Greek finance minister slams Swiss over lack of tax evasion info
Business & Money
Insects proposed for sale in Swiss supermarkets next year
National
'Oh God — I'm coming': noisy lovers' complaint goes public
National
Canton of Ticino threatens closing Italy border to asylum seekers
National
Just in case: Swiss National Bank prepares for Grexit 'crisis'
National
Russian crisis fuelled by sanctions threaten 40,000 Swiss jobs: study
National
Art Basel: Art for art's sake — or to make an investment?
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

4,397
jobs available