For members


Which Swiss region has the highest tourist taxes?

If you are vacationing in Switzerland this year, be aware that tourist taxes vary widely depending on your destination. This is what you should know.

Which Swiss region has the highest tourist taxes?
Montreux levies one of the highest tourist taxes in Switzerland. Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

Even on a holiday you won’t be able to escape taxes.

Tourist taxes — fees levied on guests by hotels and other accommodation providers — are used to finance infrastructure and facilities in the community.

Paying the tourist tax can also entitle you to use some facilities in the regions, such as public transport and visiting cultural sites. 

They are added to the room invoice and have to be paid at the end of the stay.

But depending on where you go and how long you stay at your destination, these charges can take a big chunk out of your vacation budget.

This is the finding of a new study by Swiss consumer site, which compared taxes in 80 municipalities most frequented by tourists.

In Switzerland, the average amount of this tax for an adult is 3.75 francs per night. But this figure masks great regional disparities, Comparis reported.

As the chart below shows, taxes range from the lowest, 90 cents per night in Zug, to the most expensive —  a hefty 7-franc nightly fee in the Valais communities of Saas-Fe and Saas- Almagel, as well as in Montreux, Vaud.

On the other hand Zurich, which is Switzerland’s most expensive city and among the priciest in the world, is below the national average, at 2.50 francs a night.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: Why are major Swiss cities so expensive?

Interestingly, there are significant disparities even among communes in the same canton.

For instance, while in Saas-Fe and Saas- Almagel tourist tax is 7 francs nightly, it is only 2 francs in Brig-Glis.

And Davos in Graubünden charges 5.90 a night, while in Scuol, located in the same canton, this fee is 2.70.

But hotels are not to blame, as these fees are set by municipalities, not by accommodation companies.

Leo Hug, from Comparis, said a major reason for the significant differences is that village politicians usually set the rates without taking other areas into account. 

Even if a high tourist tax rate is charged, local residents are unlikely to object as the tax hikes do not directly affect them, Comparis finds

While the amounts do not seem significant, over a period of time the small amounts do add up – especially for families. 

A family of four holidaying in Saas-Fe for a week would be liable to pay 140 francs. 

Swiss news agency Watson reports that some municipalities have decided however to scrap the tourist tax, including Andermatt (Uri), Celerina, Flims and Val Müstair (Grisons) and Engelberg (Obwalden).

READ MORE: UPDATED: Who can travel to Switzerland right now?

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For members


SWISS pilots threaten an October strike action

The Swiss pilots’ union could go on strike during Switzerland’s busy autumn holiday period.

SWISS pilots threaten an October strike action

The union, Aeropers, which has been negotiating salary increases and improved working conditions with Switzerland’s national airline, has rejected the carrier’s latest collective labour agreement (CLA) and is threatening to go on strike.

The  (CLA) is a kind of contract that is negotiated between Switzerland’s trade unions and employers or employer organisations. Generally speaking, they cover a minimum wage for each type of work; regulations relating to work hours; payment of wages in the event of illness or maternity; vacation and days off; and protection against dismissal.

READ MORE : What is a Swiss collective bargaining agreement — and how could it benefit you?

The pilots said they would cease flying on October 17th, which falls in the middle of school holidays in a number of cantons — the period when many families holiday abroad.

“SWISS has not sufficiently entered into the matter of the legitimate interests of its pilots”, Aeropers said, adding that if the airline doesn’t come up with a better offer, the union “will initiate the procedures for a strike”.

For its part, SWISS said in a press release that it offered its pilots 60 million francs more than on the previous CLA, but “Aeropers executive committee has rejected this latest offer as inadequate, and has made demands of its own totalling over 200 million”.

However, Aeropers head Thomas Steffen has denied SWISS’ claim saying the 200-million figure is “a fantasy number” that has no basis whatsoever. According to Steffen, the pilots’ demand was “significantly less than half of this sum”.

He went on to accuse the airline of “propaganda” at the detriment of its employees”.

He added that the strike would me a last-resort measure if the dispute on pay, which has been going on for a year, is not resolved within a month.

“We’ve negotiated for a year and made sure that our members are level-headed and fly safely and reliably, despite being without a contract,” Steffen said.

If the SWISS cockpit staff, which also includes its sister airline, Edelweiss, does go on strike, it will be the latest labour dispute in Europe’s aviation, which includes a strike by Lufthansa ground crew, which impacted Switzerland over the summer.

However, strikes by Swiss workers is relatively uncommon compared to other countries.

READ MORE: Why are strikes so rare in Switzerland?