The strong franc, which has risen more than 10% against the euro this year, has also had a negative effect on a sector most people don’t think of as an export: tourism.Tourism accounts for 3.4% of GDP but for 6% of employment (200,000 full-time jobs, four times as many as watchmaking).
Cutting prices? Really?The importance of tourism to Switzerland helps explain why the Swiss National Bank went to extraordinary efforts this year to try to prevent the franc from strengthening too quickly against the euro.Tourism is highly price sensitive. The Swiss Alps must compete with neighboring Austria, Italy, France and Germany, which also offer plenty of mountains and ample opportunities for skiing and hiking, and all use the euro. Swiss hoteliers are responding by cutting prices and in some cases quoting prices in euros.