Swiss look to trains to get ski tourism on track

Switzerland is banking on the train to bring young European holidaymakers into the Alpine country during the forthcoming ski season, the national tourism agency said Wednesday.

Switzerland Tourism is hoping to lure in winter sports enthusiasts in their 20s and early 30s through targeted train offers.

“The emphasis is on train travel from European cities,” with ski lift passes at reduced prices for “those who take the train”, the agency said, calling it the “most sustainable way possible to get to the slopes”.

During this year’s summer season, landlocked Switzerland benefited from the return of foreign tourists thanks to the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions.

Hotel night bookings, however, were six percent below their pre-pandemic levels for January to October this year.

But for the 2022-23 winter season, Switzerland Tourism expects the number of hotel nights to exceed the 2018-19 season by one percent.

The agency is counting on foreign tourists returning to the slopes, but acknowledged that the ski season was opening up facing “major challenges”.

These include energy costs, inflation, the strength of the Swiss franc, recession worries, and broader fears about climate change shortening the winter season in the mountains. (AFP)