[ZURICH] Overnight stays at Swiss hotels eased just 0.5 per cent in the first eight months of the year as domestic travellers helped largely offset fewer foreign visitors to a country whose franc currency soared against the euro this year, data showed.
The number of stays by foreigners slipped 1.6 per cent to 14.0 million, while domestic demand rose 1.0 per cent to 11.2 million, the Federal Statistics Office said on Monday.
In August alone, overall stays fell 3.6 per cent to 4.1 million as both foreign and domestic demand declined.
The monthly data showed double-digit percentage drops in stays by Germans, Dutch, Russians, Belgians and Italians, but stays booked by Asians rose nearly 13 per cent, led by visitors from China, the Gulf countries, India, South Korea and the United States.
The franc leaped against the euro when the Swiss central bank in January abruptly abandoned efforts to keep the euro above 1.20 francs. The euro recovered somewhat last month to above 1.10 and now changes hands at around 1.09 francs.