Switzerland Tourism has been operating in the USA since 1908. With 2.5 mio generated overnights in 2023, the US is Switzerland’s 3rd biggest source market. Hereafter you find the most important market information.

Directory

  1. Know the basics
  2. Bi-monthly market update
  3. Localized annual plan 2024

Know the basics

AddressSwitzerland Tourism
608 5th Ave, Suite #603
New York, NY 10020
Market ManagerClaudio Zemp, Director Americas
Contact+1 (646) 200-2554
claudio.zemp@switzerland.com
LinkedInwww.linkedin.com/in/claudiozemp/

Meet the Team

The 17 team members based in the US work primarily out of New York, with each a media and trade representative on the West Coast, based in Los Angeles and San Francisco. 

Trade

Oliver Weibel, Head of Trade Relations North America.
Contact

LinkedIn
+1 647-417-7438
oliver.weibel@switzerland.com
www.linkedin.com/in/oliver-weibel-91352628/
Florin Eggenberger, Project Manager Trade North America
Contact

LinkedIn
+1 646-200-2385
florin.eggenberger@switzerland.com
www.linkedin.com/in/florin-eggenberger-883042b0/
Oliver Guggisberg, District Manager Western USA
Contact

LinkedIn
+1 415-366-8668
oliver.guggisberg@switzerland.com
www.linkedin.com/in/guggisberg-oliver-a7984b57/

Research and reports

  • ST market research page –– here
  • ST Research Report 2023 –– Download here
  • ST TMS 2017 –– Download here

Market activities

Last updated: mm/dd/yy by initials

Market update and reporting of finalized activities 2023

Click here for an overview slide for each finalized activity in the current year. ((Will follow))

Localized annual plan 2024

Last updated: 01/26/2024 by CZ

Market Situation

The United States were one of the main recovery drivers for the Swiss Tourism industry in 2023. With the increase in overnights compared to the record year of 2019 expected to top 20%, the market is truly back on top. While we expect the growth to continue in 2024, the rate will be a bit more modest but still in the high single digits. 

As we entered another presidential election year, and with the first two republican primaries won by former president Donald Trump, it looks like the nation will get to choose between two widely unpopular candidates. A rematch of 2020 the voters say they don’t want. Incumbent President Biden ‘s age of 81 is a concern even for many democrats, who fear he cannot run an effective campaign, let alone finish a second term in office. While he still gets overwhelming support from his party, there is a vocal group of young, progressive voters who strongly disagree on foreign policy (Israel/Gaza) with the Biden administration and threaten to withhold their support. Of course, Donald Trump, at 77, is not only almost as old as Mr Biden, but also faces 91 felony counts across tow state courts and two different federal districts.  Any of which could potentially end up with a prison sentence. 

With a wide array of geo-political issues, ranging from Russia/NATO tension, Israel/Gaza conflict, and the strategic competition between the US and China, the broken American political system looks like it is not able to provide the unifying, strong leadership it will need.

Economy

Not only did the much-anticipated recession of 2023 never happen, but instead the US economy also grew at a surprise pace. GDP increased a robust 2.5% in 2023 and fuelled by strong consumer spending and hiring registered at 3.3% in the final three months of the year. This smashed expectations and is higher than throughout the entire decade pre-pandemic. Inflation continues to come down as it remained below 3% from October to December 2023, bolstering expectations that the Federal Reserve will start cutting interest later this year.  The encouraging economic date gave the stock market a boost towards the of January 2024 with the the benchmark S&P 500 closing at a record high for five straight trading days, the longest streak of its kind since November 2021. Despite all this, Americans overwhelmingly disapprove of the handling of the economy by the Biden administration. Ongoing effects of high inflation and the least affordable housing market in over a generation are contributing to many not feeling the countries growth personally. Furthermore, a slew of companies across the tech, media, finance, and retail industries made significant cuts to staff in 2023. And the forecastfor 2024 is already looking grim, with companies like Amazon, BlackRock, Nike, Intel and Citygroup having already announced plans for cuts this year. Experts anticipate a slight increase in the unemployment rate to 4.2% by the end of the year, up from its current 3.7%. And finally, the strong consumer spending is being driven partly by falls in the saving rate and increased used of personal credits, which are a downside risk to the outlook later this year.

Travel industry

Thanks to the strong performance of the US travel industry, interest in the market is extremely high from all sides. Flight capacity to Switzerland will increase in 2024 with new SWISS flights from Washington DC and Toronto (summer only) and Delta from Atlanta to Zurich. This not only reflects the airlines confidence in growth of the market, but also in the vacation destination Switzerland. With the purchase of Crans-Montana Mountain Resorts, another key player in the market is fully commitment to expanding its business to Switzerland. We expect many American Epic Ski Pass holders to travel to the Valais in the coming winter, following the success story of Andermatt. The landscape within the travel industry is as fragmented as ever. The trade has gained even more importance since Covid, especially with our target clientele in the luxury segment. 49 Virtuoso properties in Switzerland and ST winning the Best Tourism Board award at the 2023 Virtuoso Awards are just two signs of our commitment to the travel adviser community. With Internova becoming noticeable stronger, we look forward to hosting a Travel Leaders Owners Summit in the Ticino in March 2024.  Having said this, it would be wrong to ignore the growing number of customers booking their vacations directly online, a trend which we see for example with the rising popularity of sbb.ch for train bookings.

Travel behavior

Americans love ‘ticking-off’ must-sees and prefer destinations, which are well-known in America. Thankfully, Switzerland is one of them. While the natural beauty of Switzerland attracts them, they often stay in our cities. Four out of the top five destinations visited by Americans in 2023 are cities (Zurich, Luzern, Geneva, and Basel), with Zermatt being the only mountain resort making the list. Destinations in the Bernese Oberland saw a disproportionally high growth from the US in 2024, and we saw a significant increase in interest in travel by train.  Here are some Key Trends in the US:

  • Guests take more international trips and spend more money on vacations
  • 2.2 trips pre-pandemic up to 3.8 trips per year now
  • Overall spend up by 16%
  • Millennials take almost 4x more international trips than Boomers
  • Boomers spend more than twice as much per trip compared to Millennials
  • Changes in travel behavior turned from pent-up demand to new normal
  • Millennials are on the cusp of their peak spending years
  • Interest in Europe is smaller with GenZ and Millennials than with Boomers
  • SoMe is a powerful tool to inspire these generations
  • TikTok most downloaded app
  • Travel content has been reimagined for short-form, vertical, sound-on formats
  • More sources used than ever before to plan vacations 
  • Share of bookings made on smart phone up by 15% compared to 2019
  • Share shift from mobile web to mobile app
  • 79% of international travelers prefer to visit multiple locations

Personas

The US market focuses primarily on the personas Kris, Max and Pat. Find more information about the personas here.  

Key Performance Indicators

Final 2023Budget 2024
Bed nights hotels3’059’1183’212’074
Turnover Total (CHF)857 Mio.899 Mio.
Growth 2023 – 2024+ 5,0%
Campaigning & Activation*
·      Top-Marketing Contacts448’397’264220’000’000
·      Customer reactions737’928540’000
·      Tracked Sessions on MyS.com per year3’105’8133’000’000
·      Bouncing Rate on MyS.com
·      Engagement Rate on MyS.com48,8%49.0%
·      Engagement Rate on Social Media0.45%0.45%
Media work (KMM)*
·      Top-Coverage articles179150
·      Top-Coverage media contacts519’522’947520’000’000
·      Qualified Interactions with KMM1’1581’200
Trade (KAM)*
·      Influenced overnight with tour operators373’148360’000
·      Influenced revenue with tour operators104’481’440100’800’000
·      Specific group and FIT packages263270
·      Qualified Interactions with KAM4’0484’000
·      Meetings: RFP’s196210
·      Influenced revenue business events9’370’95311’655’000
·      Qualified Interactions with business accounts1’6931’700
Partner cooperations
·      Investments tourism partners1’665’2581’665’258
* numbers incl. Canada