Swiss tourism experts see Beijing's winning of Winter Olympics positive

August 5, 2015 5:22 am 

By Christopher Woodburn

GENEVA, Aug. 4 (PNA/Xinhua) — Beijing's recent winning of the 2022 Winter Olympics bid is seen as positive development by Swiss tourism experts who estimate that more and more Chinese tourists will come to visit the confederation, and that the number of Chinese overnight stays is expected to reach 2 million by 2022.

With just over 8 million inhabitants, an efficient transport system (trains and buses are the preferred means of transport) and the reputation as one of the world's safest destinations, Switzerland has decidedly established itself as a prime destination for Chinese visitors, even in winter months.

"We believe that the preparation of the games will give winter sports an increasing importance in china. We started to promote the Winter season in china three years ago and plan to intensify our marketing activities for winter in China in the coming years," Switzerland Tourism spokesperson Veronique Kanel said.

According to the Swiss Federal Statistical Office (FSO), an increasing number of Chinese tourists are visiting Switzerland, with over 1 million Chinese hotel stays registered last year in the confederation.

Representing a 14.9 percent increase compared to 2013, this number is in tune with the recent influx of Asian and Golf States nationals to the country, while figures show that the number of overnight stays registered by Europeans in 2014 fell to its lowest level since 1996.

In light of these changing patterns, Kanel told Xinhua on Monday that since Switzerland gained approved destination status in 2004, more and more Chinese tourists are travelling to the confederation, with the number of Chinese overnight stays in Swiss hotels increasing by 420 percent between 2004 and 2014.

"Switzerland Tourism was the first European tourist office to be present in Beijing in 1998," Kanel explained, while the nation' s popularity stems from the country's reputation in China and its prime location, "sandwiched between Italy and France, two other countries highly appreciated by Chinese travelers." (PNA/Xinhua)

CTB/EBP

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