Although Switzerland is a popular business travel destination, Americans are travelings to smaller towns and the Alps suggesting leisure travel is the biggest growth driver between the 2 markets.
Americans traveling to Switzerland increased for the 5th consecutive year in 2014, according to recently released data from the Swiss Federal Office of Statistics.
U.S. arrivals grew 3.5 percent last year for a total 751,514 travelers. Arrivals from the U.S. have grown more than 20 percent since 2009. Although these are the highest visitor numbers for the U.S. in the last decade, visitation was higher in the 1980s through the early 2000s, representatives from Switzerland Tourism say.
The number of total overnight stays, only counted for hotels, grew 3.7 percent to 1.64 million nights. The total overnight stays is likely significant higher considering the growing popularity of vacation homes, Airbnb listings, and visits with family and friends.
The most popular Swiss destinations among Americans were Zurich, Geneva, the Lake Lucerne region, Bernese Overland, and Basel.
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The Lake Geneva region experienced the greatest growth in American visits, up 12.8 percent, in 2014.
“The increase in visitor numbers from the U.S. was the highest in the Swiss Alps as well as the smaller cities and towns of Switzerland, which indicates that the strongest growth in 2014 was again in leisure travel,” says Switzerland Tourism’s director of the Americas Alex Hermann.
Photo credit: The sun sets over Lake Geneva in Switzerland. Kosala Bandara / Flickr