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Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Switzerland Plans Visitor Limits to Curb Overtourism


Fri 05 Jul 2024 | 02:17 PM
Israa Farhan

Switzerland's tourism board announced Thursday that it is seeking to regulate visitor numbers throughout the year to protect the country from the risks of overtourism.

The board intends to encourage visits outside peak seasons and promote lesser-known destinations that do not attract large numbers of tourists. Officials emphasized directing tourists to "appropriate places at the right time."

Martin Nydegger, head of Switzerland Tourism, stated, "Switzerland generally does not suffer from overtourism," but noted occasional localized overcrowding issues within the sector.

For instance, the village of Iseltwald in central Switzerland experienced a sudden influx of Asian tourists last year following the success of the South Korean series "Crash Landing on You" on Netflix.

In response, the village imposed a fee of five Swiss francs (about $5.55) on tourists wishing to take a boat trip to capture a romantic scene from the series.

Nydegger highlighted that Swiss people generally have a positive view of the tourism sector. According to a survey by the tourism board, only five percent express concerns related to tourism.

Damian Constantin, head of the Regional Tourist Office Managers Conference, told AFP that "the strength of the Swiss franc is a defense factor, limiting mass tourism access."

He added that alongside the strong currency, high living costs make Switzerland an expensive destination, thus mitigating the risks of overtourism.

Despite these challenges, Switzerland Tourism aims to be proactive in protecting a sector that generates 43 billion Swiss francs ($48 billion) annually, accounting for 4.5 percent of the country's GDP, according to Nydegger.

The Swiss tourism board plans to collaborate with tour organizers to promote new destinations, such as long-distance hiking trails and electric bike tours in the luxury ski resort of Davos.

They are leveraging online Chinese content creators to market these offerings.

Additionally, campaigns have been launched to promote tourism during the autumn season to extend the summer tourism period.