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Number of foreign tourists visiting Switzerland rose in first half of 2018

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Number of foreign tourists visiting Switzerland rose in first half of 2018
The five-star hotel Gstaad Palace is seen from a street of the Alpine resort of Gstaad, in the canton of Bern. File photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP.
12:59 CEST+02:00
The Swiss hotel industry recorded 18.4 million overnight stays in Switzerland in the first half of 2018.

The number of overnight stays, one barometer for assessing the number of tourists, increased by 670,000 vis-a-vis the first semester in 2017.

More than 10 million of the hotel rooms booked were by foreigners, an increase of 4.6 per cent compared with the same period last year, according to figures released by Switzerland's Federal Office of Statistics. 

An increase in European visitors was the main reason behind the boost. German visitors led the charge with an increase of 73,000 overnight stays, more than any other foreign nation.

French and Spanish tourists also played their part, with 24,000 more overnight stays recorded by French tourists and an extra 15,000 by Spanish visitors compared with the first six months of 2017. 

While the number of Japanese visitors decreased, Switzerland nevertheless became a more popular destination with Asian tourists, especially visitors from India and China. Government figures show an increase of 10 per cent in overnight stays from Indian tourists. 

Twelve out of 13 tourist regions in Switzerland recorded an increase in overnight stays, with Zurich proving to be the most popular destination – an additional 171,000 overnight stays were registered from January to June 2018 in the canton of Zurich, compared with the same period in 2017.

Accommodation providers in the cantons of Grisons, Bern and Lucerne all saw higher demand from foreign and domestic visitors. The Italian-speaking canton of Ticino, in southern Switzerland, was the odd one out. Overnight stays decreased by 69,000 in this year's first semester in Ticino when compared with figures from the same period last year. 

February was the busiest month for the sector with more than 3 million overnight stays across the country. 

READ MORE: 2018 bucket list: what to do in Switzerland this year

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