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BREXIT

Brexit: Why visiting Switzerland now costs 30 francs more for Brits

As of October 11th, arriving from the UK to Switzerland just got a little more expensive.

The colourful tails of several British Airlines aeroplanes at an airport.
Arriving to Switzerland from the United Kingdom - or most other non-EU/EFTA countries - just got a little more expensive. The colourful tails of several British Airlines aeroplanes at an airport. Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Please note: As of November 1st, visitors from the UK will be able to use the NHS app wherever Switzerland’s Covid certificate is required, free of charge. More information is available here

From Monday, October 11th, people coming to Switzerland from non-EU /EFTA countries — including from the United Kingdom — will have to pay to convert their evidence of vaccination to a Swiss Covid certificate.

Visitors can expect to pay 30 francs for this service.

Arrivals from the United States, India and several other countries can also expect to pay this fee. 

For those coming from EU/EFTA countries – or who have a Covid certificate/passport from one of these countries – they will not need to convert it when they arrive in Switzerland.

This is because EU/EFTA passes can be used throughout Switzerland wherever the Covid certificate is required and therefore does not need to be ‘converted’.

Also, unlike EU/EFTA arrivals, the countries of the United Kingdom are all considered high risk. 

This means that only people who have been vaccinated are allowed to enter Switzerland from the United Kingdom. 

Those who test negative or who have recovered from the virus recently will not be allowed to enter, unless they are Swiss citizens, residents or fit within another exception category. 

More information on that is available at the following link. 

UPDATE: Switzerland confirms only vaccinated Americans and Brits can enter

What does this mean for Swiss tourism?

Swiss tourism officials and ski resort operators are concerned that non-European tourists will be put off by the financial and logistical obstacles.

“These tourists are essential for ski resorts”, according to Markus Berger, spokesperson for Switzerland Tourism.

“With the 30-franc fee, we have a hurdle that other countries don’t have”, Berger said.

While neighbouring France and Germany also require certificate conversion, this procedure is free of charge there.

“The reason why this service is free in France is obvious”, Berger said, adding that the French “set it up and made it available very quickly, offering it free of charge as an active tourism promotion measure. Unfortunately, there is no such awareness in Switzerland”.

The tourism industry is lobbying federal authorities in Bern in an effort to rescind the 30-franc rule.

Exactly where the certificate will be needed on Switzerland’s slopes remains to be seen.

Specific information on how to get Switzerland’s Covid certificate for arrivals from all countries, including the United Kingdom, can be found at the following link.

Canton-by-canton: How visitors can get Switzerland’s Covid certificate

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TRAVEL NEWS

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?

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