Switzerland’s tourism industry has been one of the hardest hit in the country by the coronavirus crisis.
To turn things around, a number of proposals have been developed to incentivise Swiss residents to holiday in their own country.
The centrepiece of the support plan is to give every Swiss resident a 200-franc voucher to be spent in the Swiss tourism or hospitality industries.
As reported by the NZZ on Tuesday, the Social Democrats hope that the voucher scheme will help out the tourism, culture and leisure industries.
The vouchers can be used in hotels or with tourism operators, while the money can also go towards restaurants and leisure facilities. The total cost of the voucher scheme will be CHF1.7 billion.
Swiss tabloid Blick wrote earlier in May that while the scheme is proposed for summer, the vouchers will remain valid into the winter.
'Strong incentives are needed'
SP National Councillor Sandra Locher Benguerel, who developed the plan, said it was up to the government to incentivise holidays locally.
“With freedom of travel restricted, strong incentives are needed for the Swiss population to spend their holidays in their own country,” Locher Benguerel said.
“The massive decline in foreign clientele should therefore be replaced by local customers.”
Tax breaks for local stays
One proposal put forth by National Councillor Fabio Regazzi (Swiss People’s Party) is to give tax breaks to any Swiss resident who travels in Switzerland.
The proposal demands that holiday makers be able to deduct the money they spend on vacation within Switzerland, up to the value of CHF5,000.
“Tourism is suffering and has been hit hardest by the crisis,” Regazzi said.
“It is urgently necessary to kick start tourism again.”
Regazzi said this was a better option than the voucher scheme as it did not require government to directly fund travel.
“This makes holidays in Switzerland more attractive without the need for government subsidies.”