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HEALTH

Summer in Switzerland: Where will the Swiss be able to go on holiday?

This summer, border closures mean many Swiss will spend their summer holidays in their own backyard, perhaps for the first time ever.

Summer in Switzerland: Where will the Swiss be able to go on holiday?
Image: Pexels
With the coronavirus closing international borders the world over, taking summer holidays abroad in 2020 will be more difficult than ever.
 
This has forced many to consider spending their summer holidays in their own backyard, perhaps for the first time ever. 

Although the closed borders might have changed plans for plenty of Swiss, they have forced local tourist operators to work harder than ever to attract Swiss tourists. 

More than half of the overnight stays in Switzerland each year are due to foreign tourists, leaving a large hole that travel operators are seeking to fill with local vacationers. 

Experts warn of second coronavirus wave in Switzerland

Switzerland Tourism says this gives locals an opportunity to travel closer to home at a comparatively cut price rate. 

Fly local, stay local

The closure of neighbouring borders and the cutting of flights has meant leaving the country – something that more than 12 million Swiss residents did in 2019 – will be more difficult than ever. 

Karin Keller-Sutter, Head of the Swiss Justice Department, said that the government would not stop residents of Switzerland from leaving in the summer and would not prevent them returning. 

She did however indicate that anyone intending to do so may encounter difficulties getting out of Switzerland, as many neighbouring countries are set to keep their borders closed for the foreseeable future. 

Keller-Sutter said that for holiday makers unsure of where to go this summer, vacations in Switzerland should be preferred. 

“The good thing is: Holidays in Switzerland are possible at any time. We would like to call on the population to spend their holidays in Switzerland. 

“This also helps us to stimulate the economy again.”

Camping will be the hot ticket this summer. Image: Pexels

Where will be open and when? 

Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga has encouraged Swiss residents to holiday locally. 

“There should be a lot possible in Switzerland in summer,” said Sommaruga in late April. 

As reported in the Tagblatt, Sommaruga is likely to reopen domestic tourism in Switzerland from June onwards. 

While hotels in Switzerland were allowed to remain open throughout the crisis, camping sites have been closed. 

Camping and caravanning association TCS has been forced to close its 24 sites across the country due to the virus, although they may be allowed to reopen in the next wave of lockdown relaxations from June 8th. 

The decision on camping sites will be made on May 27th. 

The top destinations for summer

Although Switzerland’s major cities like Zurich, Geneva, Bern and Basel are tourist attractions in their own right, they mainly attract tourists from abroad. 

Swiss tourist authorities predict that non-urban destinations will be a hit this summer, with the country’s largely urban-dwelling population looking to socially distance themselves from the hustle and bustle of the city. 

As a result, regional areas of Switzerland have already been inundated by requests for the summer. 

Ticino’s Campofelice, Bergün in Graübunden, Wildhaus in St Gallen and Urnäsch in Appenzell Ausserrhoden have all received more calls than usual, reports Swiss daily Watson

Beach areas along Switzerland’s lakes are also growing in popularity, as the Swiss swap Spain for the Strandbad and chose the Bains des Paquis over the Ballerman.  

Enquiries have been made for the entire summer but the venues are set to be particularly busy around school holiday periods. 

Gabriella Rolfo, from Campofelice, told Watson that the uptick in requests and bookings was due to forced changes in plan thanks to the coronavirus, with guests particularly keen on cabins and bungalows. 

“We have a lot of inquiries from people who would otherwise have gone abroad,” Rolfo said. 

“We find that because of Corona, people are particularly keen to spend their holidays outdoors this year.” 

 

Member comments

  1. Consider the exquisitely-located village of Beatenberg, high on a sun terrace above Interlaken, with views of the turquoise colored Lake Thun and 25 snow-capped alps.
    Fifteen minutes from Interlaken West train station by bus or car, with many beautiful excursions available.
    There are several hotels and restaurants in Beatenberg as well as hundreds of flats and chalets. It’s dramatically quiet up there, and the air is sweet. I am not a representative of the tourist industry, just a US citizen who has spent a dozen happy summers in the village. Check out Beatenberg.ch and beatenbergbilder.ch. You’ll fall in love like I did.

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TAXES

Masks, tests and jabs: Can I deduct Covid-related costs from my taxes in Switzerland?

Switzerland’s tax deadline is just around the corner. Are Covid-related costs tax deductible?

Masks, tests and jabs: Can I deduct Covid-related costs from my taxes in Switzerland?

March 31st is the deadline for filing taxes in Switzerland relating to the 2021 financial year. 

Over the past two years, the Covid pandemic has seen a change in our spending habits. 

While we may have saved on restaurants and travel, we laid out considerable costs on a range of new expenses, including disinfectant, masks and Covid tests. 

As some of these costs are required by law, can they be deducted from your tax?

In some cases, expenses directly related to the Covid pandemic can be deducted. 

Masks, for instance, can be deducted as medical expenses in some cantons, Swiss tax specialist Markus Stoll told 20 Minutes

This depends on the specific framework for tax deductions related to medical expenses in that canton. 

EXPLAINED: What can I deduct from my tax bill in Switzerland?

Generally speaking, any medical costs paid out of pocket can be deducted. However, most cantons impose a minimum percentage limit from which these costs can be deducted. 

In many cantons, this will start at five percent of your yearly income in total (i.e. including other out-of-pocket costs like dental or specialist visits), meaning you would need to purchase a significant amount of masks to beat the threshold. 

What about testing and vaccination?

Testing and vaccinations however were largely free as their costs were covered by the Swiss government, which means associated expenses cannot be deducted. 

Those tests which were not covered by the government – for instance for travel abroad or for visiting clubs – cannot be deducted, Stoll says. 

“Tests for travel abroad or to visit clubs are not deductible” Stoll said. 

For a complete overview of taxation in Switzerland, including several specific guides, please check out our tax-specific page here. 

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