After three months of being stuck at home and living under various restrictions, staycations are the last thing that many of Switzerland’s residents want to do this summer.
“People often tell us that they don’t want to have the destination of their holidays imposed on them”, Stéphane Jayet, vice-president of the Swiss Travel Federation told RTS television.
And Rafael Matos, a tourism teacher at HES-SO in Valais, added that “the Swiss are among the nationalities which travel the most. And we have the right to travel. It has almost become a human right “.
This year, Switzerland’s public dreams of relaxing by a warm sea, in the shade of palm trees.
A new survey shows that only 19 percent of residents will likely heed the call of tourism authorities and stay in Switzerland this summer.
The other 80 percent said they would like to vacation in the Mediterranean countries, but mostly in those that are accessible by car or train, since flight schedules may be uncertain in the foreseeable future.
That means Italy and France, both of which can be reached by car or train within five or six hours from Switzerland.
But unlike previous years, when most people used to book their holidays well ahead of time, this summer “a lot of people will opt for the ‘last-minute’ deals”, Jayet said.
Foreign vacations seemed impossible just weeks ago, when European countries closed their borders amid the spreading Covid-19 pandemic.
In April, the majority of Switzerland’s public planned to stay in the country for their holidays.
In fact, tourism authorities are urging residents to spend their summer holidays in the country to help the sector rebound from the huge losses it suffered during the Covid-19 crisis — nearly 9 billion francs in revenue since the beginning of the pandemic in mid-March.