Editor's note: On Wednesday, April 29th, Erik Jakob clarified his statements, saying it was purely a personal rather than an official recommendation.
Erik Jakob, head of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, warned on Monday that residents of Switzerland shouldn’t plan on travelling internationally before 2021.
During a press conference flanked by Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) spokesman Daniel Koch, Jakob highlighted the uncertainty surrounding international travel.
“On a personal recommendation, I would postpone trips abroad until next year”, Jakob said.
Jakob said that even if air travel started up again, it would remain uncertain for a considerable period of time.
Jakob also cautioned against driving across land borders, saying that while it may not be out of the question in 2020, it could not be guaranteed.
The statement came after Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis told the NZZ on Sunday that he couldn't see borders being opened to traffic coming from either direction until well after the summer.
For anyone in Switzerland experiencing wanderlust, the Swiss authorities did however indicate they would be looking to boost domestic tourism in 2020.
In order to minimise the risk from the coronavirus, Switzerland Tourism is planning a coordinated reopening which aims to direct visitors to different locations all across the country to ensure that “hotspots” are not overloaded.
Tourism sector won’t return to normal until 2022
During the press conference, Jakob highlighted that Swiss tourism operators were likely to experience a drop in demand of up to 80 percent in 2020.
Jakob also said that he expected the impacts on the industry to be long lasting, with things unlikely to return to normal until 2022.