People from China are currently not visiting Switzerland to the same extent as before the pandemic. Because of the uncertain economic situation in the People’s Republic, many are still waiting to travel abroad. At the same time, the Swiss consulates hardly ever respond to visa applications.
Author: Denise Joder-Schmutz
Before the pandemic, many Chinese tourists always stayed at the Hotel Monopol near Lucerne train station. Guests from India, England and Spain are now sitting in the breakfast room of the four-star hotel. You hardly see guests from China.
Legend: According to the hotel director of the monopoly in Lucerne, Lars Güggi, there are currently far fewer guests from China than there were a few years ago. Denise Joder
After the pandemic, many Chinese people waited to book, says hotel director Lars Güggi. It happens again and again that he has to reject booking requests. “If requests come in at short notice, it sometimes becomes really difficult to accommodate the guests.” While the Chinese guests were still waiting, he had already allocated the hotel rooms differently.
Significantly fewer Chinese guests
For the Golden Week at the beginning of October, one of the most important holiday weeks in China, just 50 guests booked a room. Over the whole year there are only 120 guests. For comparison: Before the pandemic, the hotel director estimates that the hotel would have accommodated 2,000 people from China per year.
The fact that people from China travel in smaller groups probably brings fewer guests to Lucerne, but better prices.
In the past, Chinese tourists often came in large groups. Today, more individual guests or small groups book a room, estimates Güggi. The large groups usually left after breakfast. On the other hand, they could explain to individual guests in the hotel where each mountain is.
“The fact that people from China travel in smaller groups probably brings fewer guests to Lucerne, but better prices,” says the hotel director. Because unlike large groups, there are fewer traders in between who also want to earn money from the travel packages.
30 to 50 percent fewer guests
Whether large tour groups or individual tourists: This autumn, guests from China will not appear in as many numbers as before the pandemic. Not just in Lucerne, but throughout the country.
Switzerland Tourism expects 30 to 50 percent fewer travelers from China than in 2019. Switzerland Tourism does not expect the same number of guests as before the pandemic until 2026.
The reasons lie in China itself, but also in Switzerland. According to Chinese tour operators, there is not yet enough flight capacity.
In addition, the economic situation in China is rather tense. This stops many people from traveling. Nevertheless, the consulates in China are sometimes unable to keep up with issuing visas because they have not yet hired as many staff as before the pandemic.
Skilled labor shortage in Swiss hotels
At the same time, certain Swiss hotels also lack the staff to adequately accommodate guests. According to Hotelleriesuisse, the industry is primarily lacking cooks, service staff and receptionists.
Legend: Because of the many foreign guests, there is an international breakfast buffet at the Hotel Monopol in Lucerne. Denise Joder
Not so at the Hotel Monopol in Lucerne. Normally guests only eat breakfast at the hotel. That’s why they don’t need as many staff in the kitchen as other hotels and are less affected by the shortage of skilled workers, says director Lars Güggi.
However, there are still staff shortages, especially among room cleaning staff. It is particularly difficult to find people who already have experience in cleaning rooms. People therefore often have to be trained first before they can work properly.