Euro crisis causes Swiss hotel slump

The Swiss hotel business has continued to decline as the euro crisis deepens and the value of the single currency plummets against the franc.

Although the numbers of overnight stays are only down by a few percent in comparison with last year, the decrease is reflective of a continuous downward trend that started in 2009, newspaper Tages Anzeiger reported.

The problem has been “exacerbated by the brutal competitive disadvantage of the weak euro,” Christoph Juen, director of the Swiss hotel association, Hotelleriesuisse, told the paper.

For the first half of the year, figures have been down by about seven percent in significant tourist areas such as Ticino and the Valais.

The decline in tourism is causing major problems for the trade, which is having to slash prices in an attempt to stay competitive.

“The price pressure is strong not only for group tours and corporate travel, but individual guests are now also asking either for a discount or an upgrade. Because everybody knows there is spare capacity,” Juen said.

Hotels in Zurich, Fribourg and Geneva have all reported a decline in revenues. Curiously, no such effect has been reported in the Bernese Oberland.

Establishments everywhere are dropping their prices as if they had lower ratings, with five-star hotels offering four-star prices, four-star offering three-star prices and so on.

“Five-star accommodation sites are under pressure to adapt because otherwise they become too expensive, and three-star hotels must also adjust their prices downward to be correspondingly cheaper," Juen told the newspaper.

Those staying away from the Swiss hotels are mainly from Europe, with the largest abstentions being made by the Germans, British, Dutch, Belgians, Italians and French.

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