Dubai, United Arab Emirates
According to the latest figures released by Switzerland Tourism, UAE residents staying overnight in Switzerland have surpassed pre-pandemic levels. Comparing figures between July to December 2021 with the same period in 2019, the number of bed-nights recorded, increased 20.8% from 188,384 to 227,482. The number of UAE arrivals also grew from 75,084 to 85,632, during the same period, 2019 versus 2021.
“These are extraordinary figures and underscores the popularity of Switzerland with Emirati nationals as well as residents. From the moment that UAE residents were allowed to travel to Switzerland (28th June 2021) we have seen a significant increase in the volume of visitors and the length of stay has also grown from an average of 2.5 nights per visitor to 2.66,” commented Matthias Albrecht, GCC Director for Switzerland Tourism.
The substantial increase in numbers is supported by a recent survey conducted by YouGov, which in its 2022 Travel and Tourism Brand and Destination Rankings Report, highlighted Switzerland as the top ranked overseas destination for UAE residents. YouGov’s index gave Switzerland a positive impression score of 31.6 a year-on-year increase of 17.9%, ahead of Singapore (30.9), Canada (28.6) and the Maldives (27.6).
In further welcome news for UAE travellers to Switzerland, on the 17 February 2022, the Swiss federal government announced that visitors from the UAE are no longer required to provide an entry form, vaccine certificate, or negative PCR test.
“UAE visitors can now enjoy the endless attractions Switzerland has to offer, from natural scenery and outdoor pursuits to delicious local cuisine and immersive cultural experiences. With regulations eased, masks and COVID certificates are not needed when entering shops, restaurants, cultural venues, and other public settings and events,” added Albrecht.
Looking ahead to the 2022 summer season, Switzerland Tourism is planning a massive marketing campaign, which will focus on sustainability or in other words ‘Swisstainable’.
Travellers today care deeply about the environment, according to a Booking.com 2021 global survey, 83% of the 29,000 respondents said that sustainable travel was essential to them, with 61% adding that the COVID-19 pandemic had actually heightened their interest in traveling sustainably.
However, it’s not always easy to find sustainable options, something Google recognised in September 2021. After confirming third-party authentication, Google started labelling hotels as “Eco-Certified” in their global search results. This was in response to the increasing number of searches for keywords associated with eco-travel – the term “green hotel”, had apparently quadrupled over the previous 18 months.
Switzerland is renowned the world over for its sustainable development, especially for its public transport system, which reaches each and every sightseeing spot by train, bus or boat – it is right at the heart of Swiss tourism and ‘Swisstainable’ is a solid commitment to empower tourists to make informed choices on their path to a greener future.
The ‘Swisstainable’ programme is designed as a simple and informative guide for visitors, which also encourages the industry as a whole to get involved and reduce its impact on the climate. Accessible and inclusive, ‘Swisstainable’ is open to all Swiss tourism operators, based on various criteria, with three participating tiers.
Level 1 – Committed, Level 2 – Engaged, Level 3 – Leading.
Alongside the practical guidance provided by ‘Swisstainable’, more general recommendations include: 1. Get up close to nature 2. Experience the local culture in an authentic way 3. Consume regional products 4. Stay longer and delve deeper.
“Protecting the environment provides perfect synergy with Switzerland as a travel destination and taking an eco-friendly approach doesn’t mean fewer opportunities to explore. Instead, sustainable tourism invites you to travel more consciously while expanding your horizons,” added Albrecht.