Cancellations have poured in ever since Natalie Rickli of the Swiss People’s Party made her comment last month on live television, as more and more Germans decide against Switzerland as a holiday destination, online news site 20 Minuten reported.
“The whole thing is far worse than the euro crisis. Many guests from Germany have taken these criticisms personally,” Philipp Frutiger, head of the Giardino Hotel Group, told the website.
Frutiger said he had had to reassure many guests personally.
On Tuesday morning, tourist industry leaders are meeting in Luzern for a crisis meeting to discuss how to minimize the damage.
One organization, the Swiss Hotel Association (Hotelleriesuisse), has already written to Rickli warning her of the kind of damage such comments make and pointing out that much of the industry depends on foreign workers to run successfully.
But it appears that the damage has already been done.
“Long-term regular customers have told me that they no longer want to take their holidays with us,” Urs Zenhäusern, director of tourism in the Valais, told the website.
The comments, said Zenhäusern, were “downright xenophobic”.
“It can’t go on like this.”