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China and Switzerland see steady growth of bilateral tourism flow

Editor: zhenglimin 丨CRI

01-11-2017 06:57 BJT

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Official figures from Switzerland suggest the country is becoming a favored destination for Chinese travelers in Europe, while China remains a popular choice for Swiss travelers making their way to Asia.

Statistics from the Swiss government show that 2015 saw a 33% increase in the number of hotel bookings by Chinese tourists. It is part of a trend that has been taking place over the past decade.

China has for the first time become the fourth largest source of tourists for Switzerland, behind only Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Simon Bosshart, an official with Switzerland Tourism, says finding a common link with Chinese visitors has become a key strategy in promoting Switzerland.

"With the Beijing Olympics in 2022, the interest in winter sports is clearly rising in China. We are proud to say that our resorts are more and more ready to welcome Chinese guests in an appropriate manner. For example, we have 19 ski resorts which offer one-day ski experiences out of this winter. These are experiences for absolute beginners who want to give it the first try. Another example, ten resorts are providing Chinese ski instructors upon previous requests of booking with Chinese-speaking ski lessons."

Beyond winter sports, Switzerland's famed natural scenery and rich culture are also a major draw for Chinese travelers. Ren Zhicheng, who currently studies in France, is among those who have decided to take some time out for a Swiss vacation.

"We first went to Montreux, then Lausanne and now Geneva, so from small to large cities. We have taken our time and made interesting discoveries. The atmosphere in Switzerland is more relaxed and serene. "

Bosshart suggests the country's leisurely pace is a growing appeal for Chinese tourists, which he says also helps deepen bilateral understanding and exchanges.

"With Chinese guests traveling slower and more individually, they remain with the time to get in touch with the locals. We are strongly convinced of the role that tourism plays in this people-to-people exchange. "

That sentiment is shared by Chinese tourism officials who are promoting China to the Swiss public.

Chen Chen heads the representative office of China's National Tourism Administration in Switzerland.

"Both Switzerland and China are well-known tourist destinations, each with unique, abundant resources and experiences in developing tourism. With increasing cooperation between the two sides, we are not only supporting our domestic sectors but also the global tourism industry, as well as our bilateral ties."

While the number of outbound Swiss tourists to China has remained relatively small, Chen says China has become one of the top destinations for Swiss people who travel to Asia. In 2016, around 73,000 Swiss tourists traveled to China, which is around 1% of the total Swiss population.

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