In 2022, the hotel industry in Switzerland recorded 38.2 million overnight stays, an increase of 29.4% (+8.7 million) compared with 2021. After two years strongly marked by COVID-19, demand returned to a pre-pandemic level with a result higher than that of 2017. However, it was still slightly lower than in 2018 (–1.5%) and 2019 (–3.3%). Domestic overnight stays reached a new historical level with 21.1 million units, which nonetheless only represents a very slight increase (+0.5%) compared with 2021. With 17.2 million overnight stays, foreign demand doubled (+99.8%/+8.6 million), but was still below the pre-pandemic level, according to the final results of the Federal Statistical Office (FSO).
All months in 2022 showed relatively strong increases in demand compared with 2021. Increases ranged from 8.1% (August) to 73.2% (January). Although the first seven months of the year were still lower than in 2019, the last five months of the year saw the highest number of overnight stays ever recorded in the last three decades. Finally, with 22.5 million overnight stays, the 2022 summer season (May to October) became the second-best result of the last thirty years, just after 2019 (22.6 million).
Capping of domestic demand at a very high level
After a historically high level already in 2021, domestic demand stabilized in 2022. For the first time, it exceeded the symbolic mark of 21 million overnight stays (21.1), which nevertheless represents only a very slight increase (+0.5%/+102 000) compared with 2021. The overnight stays of Swiss guests, however, showed contrasting developments over the course of 2022. The first three months of the year saw an increase in the number of overnight stays, even markedly in January (+42.9%) and March (+23.4%), compared with 2021. Then, apart from June (+5.9%), all months showed a decrease between April and October, with a peak in August (–13.3%). The last two months of 2022 were marked by a return to growth in domestic demand (+7.5% in November and +2.9% in December).
Strong recovery in foreign demand
With 17.2 million overnight stays in 2022, foreign demand doubled compared with 2021 (+8.6 million/+99.8%). Growth in demand was strong throughout the year, particularly in the first half of the year, with increases close to or above 200% depending on the month. However, foreign demand in 2022 was still much lower than in the pre-COVID-19 period. For comparison, the level of overnight stays was still 20.6% lower than in 2019.
Among foreign clientele, it was mainly European (+4.2 million overnight stays/+61.6%) who contributed to this increase in 2022. Despite this positive result, demand from this continent was still lower than in 2019 (–9.5%). The largest contributors to this growth were the United Kingdom and Germany (+1.0 million each/respectively +308.9% and +39.4%). This was followed by France (+323 000/+32.7%) and the Netherlands (+314 000/+79.1%). Both countries registered an even higher level of overnight stays than in 2019.
Despite the unstable situation in Europe caused by the war in Ukraine, demand from guests from the American continent showed a very strong increase (+2.2 million/+260.7%). The strongest growth came from clientele from the United States (+1.7 million/+276.8%). Demand from the Asian continent also rose sharply (+1.8 million/+232.8%). The Gulf countries recorded the greatest absolute increase (+395 000/+92.9%), followed by India (+304 000/+399.9%). With a total of 119 000 nights, Chinese guests – the majority within this continent before 2020 – also showed an increase but were still far from the 2019 level (–91.4%). Despite these marked increases, demand from the American continent was still 8.0% and that from the Asian continent 51.4% lower than in 2019.
Increase in overnight stays in the majority of the thirteen tourist regions
In 2022, all tourist regions in Switzerland, with the exception of Ticino (–12.9%), recorded increases in overnight stays compared with 2021. The largest relative increases were observed in city regions. Geneva showed the highest increase (+94.5%), closely followed by the Zurich region (+89.0%). The Basel region saw its overnight stays increase by 57.9%. Compared with 2019, only four tourist regions had a higher level of demand in 2022, namely Ticino (+10.6%), Jura & Three Lakes (+6.4%), Graubünden (+5.9%), and Eastern Switzerland (+4.2%).
For domestic demand, seven out of thirteen tourist regions showed a decrease in 2022. As far as foreign demand was concerned, an increase was seen for all tourist regions.
Increase in room occupancy rates
In 2022, the net room occupancy rate was 51.6%, an increase of 10.2 points compared with 2021. However, it remained well below the 2019 level (55.2%). Of the thirteen tourist regions, only Ticino (53.9%/–5.6 points compared with 2021) saw a decrease in the occupancy rate. Geneva recorded the highest rate (56.7%/+22.4), followed by the Berne Region (55.7%/+12.2). Compared with 2019, only three tourist regions, Ticino, Eastern Switzerland and Fribourg Region, had a higher occupancy rate in 2022.