The Swiss tourism market was adversely impacted by the global financial crisis, which caused a decline in tourism activity and expenditure in 2009.
Although Eurozone economies weakened, Switzerland is expected to record stable growth in international arrivals over the coming years. The strengthening of the Swiss franc is one of the key reasons for the growth in outbound travel.
Tourists are drawn to Switzerland's Alpine climate and landscapes, in particular for skiing and mountaineering. As of 2011, tourism accounted for an estimated 2.9% of Switzerland's gross domestic product.
The Swiss government plays a role in tourism, primarily through financing. The annual budget for Switzerland Tourism, the national marketing organisation, was SFr99.4 million ($108 million) for 2012.
And there are parliamentarians interested in increasing - possibly even doubling - the budget for innovation in tourism (currently SFr5 million per year for the years 2012 to 2015).
The most visited Swiss tourist attractions are first, the Rheinfalls, second, the Berne Bear exhibit (both for free), and third, with over 1.8 million paid entries: Zoo Basel.
Inbound tourism grew over the past four years and recorded a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 0.15 per cent, rising from 9.2 million tourists in 2008 to 9.3 million in 2012. The highest annual growth rate of 3.37 per cent was recorded in 2010.
In 2011, 44.4 per cent of tourists in Switzerland came from Switzerland; 39.8 per cent came from non-Swiss Europe; 8.3 per cent came from Asia; 6 per cent came from North America; 0.8 per cent came from Africa; and 0.8 per cent came from Australia and New Zealand.
Inbound tourist arrivals are expected to reach 10.6 million in 2017, expanding at a projected CAGR of 2.53 per cent. The key drivers of this growth will be economic improvement in key European source markets, the strengthening of the Swiss franc, improved access to travel services at increasingly competitive prices and government efforts to promote Switzerland as a tourist destination.
For more information on the Swiss tourism market, see the latest research: Swiss Tourism Market
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