Med Pearls: key facts about Switzerland as a potential market for Slow Tourism


With the goal of gathering strategic information to internationally position the Mediterranean as an integral destination to experience Slow Tourism, the Med Pearls project  developed a series of market researches on the international demand for Slow Tourism: the ‘Research study on Slow Tourism international trends and innovations’ and the ‘Analysis of the Slow Tourism International Demand’. The main goal of these studies is to help tourism agents in the creation, promotion, and marketing of slow tourism products in 7 international markets relevant to the Med Pearls destinations. In this article we will talk about the main characteristics of Switzerland.

With a population of almost 8,4 million people, in 2015 almost nine out of ten Swiss took at least one overnight trip, of which 66% were overseas. As a matter of fact, the forecast for 2020 (before the pandemic), was that the Swiss population was about to take 26,5 million trips abroad. Furthermore, in 2017 the average number of trips per Swiss was 2,67 with an average expenditure per day of US$185,3. Placing Switzerland on the 21st place in the global rank for tourism expenditure (US$16bn).

The main types of holidays taken by Swiss were seaside, city-breaks, countryside, tour, and mountain holidays. The investigation also remarks that in 2018, the main reasons Swiss travelled were: to relax, to get in touch with a different culture and its people, to change scenery and to live adventures. Regarding destinations the research shows that in 2019, 40% of trips abroad were done to the neighbouring countries of Germany, Italy and France, and 7% of trips were outside Europe.  

The research has not been able to find tour operators with ‘100% slow products’, however one of the main findings has been that more and more tour operators are looking for products linked to the slow principles, and responsible and sustainable tourism. In fact, many Swiss operators are starting to work on 100% carbon neutral actions, and some of them start to have sections on ‘slow tourism’. It is important to remember that there are three official languages in Switzerland (German, French and Italian), so operators in the county try to work in these languages. Furthermore, these companies tend to have cross-selling as well in France, Switzerland, and Italy.

Regarding fairs, the investigation has discovered that currently in Switzerland there are no fairs dedicated or with sections about ‘slow tourism’. The investigation explains that Swiss fairs are distributed according to the different cantons (counties). Generally, the city of Geneva holds the tourism fairs for the French market, while cities like Bern or Zurich hold the ones for the German speaking market. The main fairs to keep in mind are: Salon des Voyages Quo Vadis (small but important fair for the French speaking market), and Fespo (the most important travel fair for the German speaking market).  

Besides these outcomes, the reader will find that the research also developed an intuitive guide of recommendations to help in the creation of slow tourism products and how to get tour operators interested in their “slow destinations" and products. For further information on this topic, the Swiss market analysis, or the other studies done, you can check the links below: