Switzerland was the only Alpine destination to open its ski lifts and pistes to domestic and international visitors in the 2020/21 winter season. The only restrictions affected restaurants, who at times could only sell food to take away. The measures taken by tourism service providers to protect their customers proved effective: there were no significant infection hotspots in the Swiss winter. The pandemic nevertheless led to a fall of 26.6% in hotel overnight stays versus the year-earlier period. Matters were complicated in January when quarantine rules meant that the borders were all but closed and many visitors were unable to enter Switzerland from other countries. Swiss visitors provided one glimmer of light, however, recording a 16.5% jump in hotel overnight stays.

Covid-19 resulted in new groups of visitors from within Switzerland

Another big plus was that many Swiss people who usually head for warmer destinations by the sea for their festive season and sports breaks opted to spend their holidays in the mountains of Switzerland because of the Covid-19 pandemic. To help welcome these new visitors, Switzerland Tourism ST diversified its offering and placed the sensation of trying something new at the heart of its 2020/21 winter campaign “My First Time”.

How many alpacas are there in Switzerland today?

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According to Lucerne-based alpaca breeder Monika Blättler, there were approximately 4,000 alpacas in Switzerland in 2020. MySwitzerland.com features numerous summer and winter animal trekking excursions.

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162 million impressions recorded

Be it a torch-lit night walk, paragliding beneath the full moon, a romantic night in the igloo hotel or alpaca trekking, there was an open-air activity for every taste and every level of fitness. Between the start of the campaign at the end of November 2020 and the end of April 2021, the various advertisements of the main campaign generated 162 million impressions. According to Google Analytics data, the German, French and English versions were accessed by the most users. They were followed by the Spanish and Italian versions in fourth and fifth spots. Broken down by canton, there was particular interest in the offers among website visitors in Zurich, Geneva and Vaud.

A Polish winter’s fairytale in the mountains of Switzerland

Hotel overnights stays from all foreign markets were down versus the winter 2019/20 season, with one exception: Poland. A travel corridor meant that Switzerland was the only destination where Poles could go skiing without travel restrictions. The result was an impressive 71.7% jump in hotel overnight stays by Polish visitors. ST’s office in Warsaw seized the moment and undertook initiatives during the winter season including a partnership with travelplanet.pl, which sent two influencers to the Swiss mountains. This gave Polish fans a direct insight via Instagram and the travelplanet.pl channels into what Swiss winter holidays look like in Covid times. Taken together with the favourable travel rules, this added up to something of a winter’s fairytale for the Polish market.

Facts and figures
Winter   2020/2021 2019/2020
Budget CHF million 23.7 19.4
Share of total budget % 24.2 23.5
Target markets   CH, DE, FR, IT, BeNeLux, UK Global
Page views of MySwitzerland.com* million 7.2 5.5
Number of brochures distributed million 1.2 0.3
Top advertising and marketing contacts million 177 104
Media contacts (readers, viewers, listeners) billion 3.3 5.9
Participants in ST press trips   138 620
Top media articles influenced   837 892
*Only views of pages with specific winter campaign content are counted.