Tourism Industry in Switzerland

The World Tourism Organization (WTFO) Committee on Sustainable Development of Tourism defines sustainable tourism as: “Development that meets the needs of present tourists and host regions while protecting and enhancing opportunities for the future. It is envisaged as leading to management of all resources in such a way that economic, social and aesthetic needs can be fulfilled while maintaining cultural integrity, essential ecological processes, biological diversity and life support systems”.

The Johannesburg Summit on Sustainable Development in 20023 led the way for WTFO to revise the definition of sustainable tourism In 2004. They define sustainable tourism as: “Sustainable tourism development guidelines and management practices are applicable to all forms of tourism in all types of destinations, including mass tourism and the various niche tourism segments. Sustainability principles refer to the environmental, economic and socio-cultural aspects of tourism development, and a suitable balance must be established between these three dimensions to guarantee its long-term sustainability. Thus, according to WTFO, sustainable tourism should: Make optimal use of environmental resources that constitute a key element in ours development, maintain essential ecological processes and help to conserve natural resources and biodiversity. Respect the socio-cultural authenticity of host communities, conserve their built and living cultural heritage and traditional values, and contribute to Inter-cultural understanding and tolerance.

Ensure viable, long- term economic operations, providing socio-economic benefits to all stakeholders that are fairly distributed, including stable employment and income-earning opportunities and social services to host communities, and contribute to poverty alleviation. As defined by the Global Development Research Centre, sustainable tourism in its purest sense is: “An industry which attempts to make a low impact on the environment and local culture, while helping to generate income, employment, and the conservation of local ecosystems.

It is responsible tourism which is both ecologically and culturally sensitive. ” 3. Tourism Industry In Switzerland 3. 1. Overview At SF 54 361 (some $ 33 000) In 1999, Switzerland per capita GAP Is one of the highest in the world. Real GAP growth was 3 per cent annulled in the fourth cent, inflation is low. The resident population numbers 7. Million. Switzerland has a long tradition of tourism, the latter having for two centuries been one of the country’s foremost export sectors. In 1999, tourism receipts showed a surplus of about SF 1 billion.

The main product has always been the Alps, but town and congress-centered tourism has also gained considerably in importance, particularly in Z;rich and Geneva. Switzerland geographical location is unique, with the Alpine range, several large lakes, the Jury and many other natural assets. The climate favors winter sports, but also summer tourism, with regions such as Diction and Lake Geneva enjoying very lid climates. There is considerable tourism infrastructure, with 5 000 km. Of railways, 3 international airports and a highly developed road network.

Winter tourists have at their disposal, inter alai, thirteen rack railways, 50 funiculars, 600 cable-car sections, 1200 ski tows, the highest cable-car in Europe and over 5000 SMS. Of cross-country ski trails. All ski resorts are linked in with the rail and public Total overnight stays, for example, fell from 78 million in 1991 to 66. 6 million in 1997, before picking up slightly in the last two years. Despite a booming world market, the number of nights spent in Switzerland has stagnated because of increased competition, the emergence of new destinations and a currency which has often been too strong. Another problem has been the increase in the cost of overnight stays, mainly as a result of the introduction of VAT at 6. 5 per cent in 1995, although 7. 5 per cent in general and to 3. 5 per cent for the hotel business.

Since the early sass the breakdown of tourist visitors has changed somewhat, the share of German tourism remaining stable while that of Italian tourism has diminished a little. The Asian countries’ share has grown over the period, and particularly that of Japan. Outbound tourism has enjoyed almost continuous growth for some years. Between 1992 and 1998, for example, spending abroad by the Swiss rose from SF 8. 7 to 10. 4 billion, I. E. An increase of 20 per cent. Over the same period, the surplus on receipts fell from SF 2. 8 to 1 billion. Still over the same period, Swiss tourism expenditure in Switzerland rose from SF 8. O 9 billion, I. E. A 6 per cent rise. The Swiss would therefore seem increasingly keen on traveling abroad rather than staying in Switzerland. Their preferred destinations are France (3. 8 million arrivals), Spain (1. 6 million), Italy (1. 3 million) and Germany (0. 9 million)6. Even so, domestic tourism remains substantial. Lastly, it has to be noted that Switzerland has a big comparative advantage over its competitors, not only because of its long tradition where tourism is concerned, and its magnificent scenery, but also because value added in Swiss tourism is the highest in the world.

Value added per employee was SF 92 100 in 1991, while for the same year it was 79 000 in France, 65 400 in Italy and 53 700 in Spain. Tourism can help a country to achieve not Just its economic objectives, but also its social and environmental aims. Tourism, particularly in a country with a tradition like Switzerland, can have an especially beneficial effect on employment and economic growth. In countries with a tradition of tourism, there can be no doubting the strategic importance of a tourism policy. So the aim must be to guarantee framework conditions that help the sector to develop in a positive manner.

Government incentives are needed, in particular because of the market setbacks and high transaction costs in tourism production and marketing. Nowadays, tourism policy needs a clear and self-contained strategy setting out planning and development principles. The latter must allow framework conditions to be put in place, together with a genuine programmer of encouragement aimed at stimulating and backing viable initiatives stemming from the private sector. It is, therefore, vital to provide support for innovation and co-operation, especially as regards promoting tourism.