"Clean and safe" image could boost tourism in Switzerland

Switzerland Tourism has welcomed next month’s reopening of borders with France, Germany and Austria. It believes the country’s reputation for cleanliness and tidiness could be a selling point once the Covid-19 pandemic dies down, according to SWI (swissinfo.com). 

“What doesn’t seem very sexy in normal times can be a big plus in times of crisis,” said Urs Eberhard, deputy director of Switzerland Tourism, in an interview with news agency Keystone-ATS published in the SWI article.

Asked whether guests should wear protective face masks in Swiss hotels, Eberhard said Switzerland has a “very strong” concept of protection against coronavirus – for hotels, restaurants and tourist transport – which the organisation plans to publish on its website to inform guests and “create trust.”

Eberhard also said it was important that Switzerland and its neighbours coordinate their protection measures. He welcomed the recommendation made on Wednesday by the European Commission to re-open their internal borders, which he saw as a positive signal for tourism.

It might take time for foreign travellers to return, according to Eberhard. “Initially, we’re relying above all on domestic customers. One can’t underestimate the fact that in times of crisis people need to hide themselves away,” he said. “Many will therefore spend their holidays in their own country.” But “sooner or later” people will feel the need to travel, and foreign tourists should therefore return “in the medium term.”

As for non-European visitors, it is difficult to say when they will return, according to Eberhard. But he said one thing was certain: Switzerland would “not make any offers at cut-rate prices. Rather, we could use this new beginning to convince people to stay with us longer. This would also increase added value,” he said.