Hes-so Valais

How lockdown relaxations in Switzerland have affected travel habits

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How lockdown relaxations in Switzerland have affected travel habits
How lockdown relaxations in Switzerland have affected travel habits

The Institute of Tourism of the HES-SO Valais-Wallis analysed the evolution of tourist demand following the lockdown relaxations in Switzerland. The study shows that concern about COVID-19 is decreasing and that the proportion of Swiss residents planning a holiday has increased from 18% to 24%.


Objectives and details of the study

The study analysed the effect of the progressive lockdown relaxations on holiday planning and the influence of the population’s economic situation on travel habits. Three surveys were carried out from 27 March to 10 April, from 30 April to 20 May, and from 27 to 28 May. The first two surveys were based on the same sample of residents of the nine countries – including Switzerland – that generate the most tourist overnight stays in Switzerland and Valais. The third survey was conducted among Swiss residents exclusively.  


Swiss population less worried

Following the Federal Council's announcements on 27 May, the Swiss population’s level of concern about Covid-19 decreased from 72%* to 61%, whereas it remained constant at 80%* overall (Swiss and international population). The same applies to the statement "It is still too early to think about future holidays": 75%* of all respondents agreed with it, compared to around 62%* of Swiss residents. These numbers did not change following the Federal Council's announcements.


Holidays on the horizon

The desire to travel is not very strong. On a scale from 0 (no desire) to 100 (strong desire), the desire to travel among the respondents was just below 50* and did not change significantly between surveys. Compared to the total sample, the answers of Swiss respondents were similar (53) and did not change after the lockdown relaxations of 27 May.

The number of Swiss residents planning a holiday increased significantly between the first two surveys (16% and 18%, respectively) and the third survey (24%) following the 27 May announcements. The holiday planning process has also changed over the course of the surveys, moving from researching to making actual reservations. Respondents without any holiday plans who did not experience a salary cut were more optimistic with regard to international travel. An ease of international travel restrictions would be an incentive for 64% of them (compared to 42% prior to 27 May) and the resumption of international flights for 54% of them (compared to 37%). 


Holiday budgets virtually unchanged

Respondents without a salary cut were also asked about their holiday budget. 75% among them did not make any changes, 14% reduced their budget and only 7% increased it. No significant differences were noted between individual surveys and different target groups. The proportion of Swiss residents preferring to save their money rather than spending it decreased from 83% to 71%, which indicates a slow recovery of consumer spending.


Details about the survey panel

The first survey yielded 632 positive replies, with an error margin of ±3.9%. The second survey resulted in 503 positive replies, with an error margin of ±4.4%. 199 positive replies were collected in the third survey, with an error margin of ±6.9%. The confidence level of all three surveys was 95%.


Detailed results on our interactive dashboards


Additional information: Prof. Miriam Scaglione, tel. 076 346 07 36, miriam.scaglione@hevs.ch


* Cumulated results of the first and second surveys