There is a growing trend for discovering nature on foot. Hiking is very popular, particularly among younger people too. Almost 60% of Switzerland’s summer visitors take at least one hike during their stay. Switzerland Tourism ST kicked off the 2019 summer campaign with a countrywide survey on hiking.

Switzerland’s population feels stressed
The central question of the survey was: what is the importance of nature and what activities do the respondents enjoy that involve nature? The study was carried out by Sotomo, a research institute particularly renowned for its Swiss election forecasts. Almost 5,000 people from Germany, the UK, France, the Netherlands and Switzerland responded to the survey. The most important insights: despite minor country-specific variances, the picture in North-Western Europe is fairly consistent. People are getting stressed out by today’s highly competitive digital society. It seems that the Swiss in particular are experiencing pressure: three quarters (76%) of people in Switzerland have experienced stress. The reasons given were the demands of work (75%), expectations of constant availability (64%), and keeping up with technology (53%).

Nature as a place of refuge
In today’s hectic lifestyles, nature is a place where we find refuge. Two thirds (65%) of Swiss people even say they prefer nature to their own home as a place to relax and unwind. Also – to the surprise of many – relaxation happens almost automatically. Thoughts about performance take a back seat. Respondents said they prefer to explore nature by hiking, and only 11% set themselves ambitious performance goals.

Opinion poll triggers discussion
ST used the hiking survey as a specific PR tool for the summer campaign. This proved to be a success: the report based on the study achieved 11 million media contacts, mainly in Switzerland and a number of neighbouring countries. In Ticino, for example, “20 minuti”  reported on Switzerland as a country with a highly stressed population. “Blick” (German) newspaper carried a report on the health-promoting effects of nature. “Le Nouvelliste” reported on how hikers handle stress.  

Facts and figures
Summer   2019 2018
Budget CHF million 41.9 39.8
Share of total budget % 49.9 43.2
Target markets   global global
Page views* million 4.9 2.7
Top advertising and marketing contacts billion 1.6 1.6
Media contacts (readers, viewers, listeners) billion 7.3 8.5
Participants on ST press trips   1,021 1,146
Top Media Articles   1,795 1,633
Views summer clip on YouTube million 7.3 17.5
Overnight stays influenced by KAM million 2.9 2.9
*Only views to pages with specific content for the summer campaign are counted.