Travel & Tourism Industries

An Expert's View about Travel, Tourism and Food Services in Switzerland

Last updated: 20 Apr 2011


The United States remains one of the top choices among long-haul destinations for Swiss travelers and represents 1% of all travel to the U.S. in 2010. Switzerland ranks 18th worldwide as an overseas source of income for the U.S. tourism industry.

The Swiss Franc remained strong vs. most other currencies, including the USD, providing the Swiss with an attractive purchasing power. In addition to favorable economic factors, a steady growth of 3-4 percent annually is predicted trough 2011/2014.

Market Demand
The popularity of the United States as a travel destination is based on the large variety of activities it offers. It is easy to combine various attractions - beach holidays, city tours, theme parks, culture, shopping, nature, golf, skiing, fishing, etc.

In 2007, the Swiss travelers spent $1,095 (in thousands) during their stay in the U.S. (Export spending).  Due to a very favorable CHF-to-U.S. Dollar exchange rate over the last 2 years, caused by the financial crisis and an average collapse of the costs for U.S. holidays of 30% over 2010, the travel & tourism industries are getting more attention every day by Swiss travelers.

With 3 airports (Zurich, Basel & Geneva) for long distance aircrafts, Switzerland holds an important traffic hub in Europe and offers Swiss & U.S. travelers daily direct flights to the United States.

Swiss Travel agencies are increasing the number of new U.S. destinations represented in Switzerland in addition to the popular ones.

Intensified bilateral and trade relations between the two governments are increasing the business and professional (Incentive) travel volume.

In recent years, the number of U.S. companies represented in Switzerland increased steadily due to simplified and attractive tax and regulatory advantages in certain cantons (Vaud and Zug).

Market Data
After 9/11 and a 18% decrease over the year, the number of Swiss travels to the U.S. recovered again and reached a 10-year-high-record in 2010 with an increase of 49% since 2001.

The VISA WAIVER PROGRAM permits Swiss citizens to enter the USA without a visa for a maximum of 90 days.

You will need a visa if your passport does not meet these requirements:

• If issued before 26/10/2005:
Your passport must have a machine-readable zone (lines of text with biographical data in OCR-B characters)

• If issued between 26/10/2005 and 25/10/2006: Your passport must have a machine-readable zone and a digital passport photograph

• If issued after 26/10/2006:  Your passport must be an “e-passport“. This contains a chip with your biographical, biometric data and a digital passport photograph

Every Swiss must apply for Electronic Travel Authorization.

With effect from 8 September 2010, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will be charging US$ 14 to issue the ESTA permission. The ESTA authorisation is valid for up to two years provided it is not withdrawn and your passport does not expire. The ESTA travel authorisation is valid for multiple entries into the United States.

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Posted: 20 April 2011, last updated 20 April 2011

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