Tourism growth, particularly in the destination’s mountain areas, drove a record year for Switzerland in 2018. According to newly released data from Switzerland Tourism, the country saw a 10 percent increase in arrivals from the United States last year. Since 2009, U.S. visitor numbers have grown by over 60 percent.
All told 1,055,000 U.S. travelers visited Switzerland last year. The number of overnight stays was 2.25 million, an increase of 10.1 percent compared to 2017 – although this figure does not include vacation rentals.
In a written statement Alex Herrmann, director Americas for Switzerland Tourism, said that Americans are benefiting from the strong U.S. dollar when traveling to Switzerland, which has driven increased spending on higher-category hotels, as well as more spending on activities, meals and shopping.
The most popular destinations were the Zurich region, the Lake Lucerne region and the Geneva region. The mountain areas, however, saw the biggest growth in 2018 – about twice as high as the growth seen in the cities. The largest increase in U.S. visits occurred in the Bernese Oberland.
Two-thirds of all visitors from the U.S. travel to Switzerland during the summer months, according to Switzerland Tourism. The organization’s summer campaign theme for 2019 is “Back to Nature,” which will highlight the hiking, walking and climbing opportunities in the Swiss Alps and along the country’s lakes. Switzerland has more than 40,000 miles of trails for every fitness level.