How Swiss holiday habits have changed

Travel habits among Switzerland’s population have changed dramatically since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, a new study has revealed.

How Swiss holiday habits have changed
Most people chose to stay in Switzerland in 2020. Photo by AFP

Tourism and mobility habits were disrupted in 2020 not only by the virus itself, but also due to various travel restrictions across the world, according to a new study by motoring organisation Touring Club Suisse (TCS). 

One of the findings is that people in Switzerland have favoured the car for getting around, to the detriment of public transport. The number of respondents who used public transport during the pandemic, dropped from 29 percent in 2019 to 18 percent in 2020.

There was also a shift in terms of holidays, TCS found.

About a third of those surveyed opted to stay at home during holidays, compared to just 16 percent in 2019. Of those who did leave their homes, 44 percent chose to stay in Switzerland, while that number was 25 percent in 2019. 

The perception is “the closer to home, the better”, TCS said, adding that cantons of Ticino, Valais and Graubünden have been the most popular destinations during the pandemic.

Of those who travelled abroad, 23 percent went to neighbouring countries — 12 percent less than a year earlier.

Only 7 percent ventured farther in Europe, compared to 26 percent in 2019. And only 0.6 percent left Europe, compared to 12 percent in 2019.

While on holiday, 46 percent of Swiss travellers used the car, against 36 percent in 2019.

Air travel has experienced a dramatic drop, as only 7 percent of Switzerland’s travellers opted for this mode of transport in 2020, compared to 32 percent a year before. 

“While in the past, concerns about the safety of overseas travel were mainly related to terrorism, now the problems of disease and pathogens are more important”, TCS said.

International travel has been problematic not only because of the epidemiological situation, but also due to restrictions currently in place in various countries, including, in many cases, the obligation to present a recent negative Covid test before entering a foreign country. 

And from February 8th, Switzerland has implemented new restrictions for people entering the country, including residents returning from abroad. 

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: What are Switzerland's new travel and quarantine rules?

They include online registration and a negative Covid test prior to travel. 

Also, people arriving from countries at risk must self-quarantine for 10 days, though this period could be shortened if negative test result is presented to cantonal authorities on the seventh day

READ MORE: Quarantine: Switzerland updates coronavirus 'high risk' list



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Public Health Agency recommends two Covid doses next year for elderly

Sweden's Public Health Agency is recommending that those above the age of 80 should receive two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine a year, once in the spring and once in the autumn, as it shifts towards a longer-term strategy for the virus.

Public Health Agency recommends two Covid doses next year for elderly

In a new recommendation, the agency said that those living in elderly care centres, and those above the age of 80 should from March 1st receive two vaccinations a year, with a six month gap between doses. 

“Elderly people develop a somewhat worse immune defence after vaccination and immunity wanes faster than among young and healthy people,” the agency said. “That means that elderly people have a greater need of booster doses than younger ones. The Swedish Public Health Agency considers, based on the current knowledge, that it will be important even going into the future to have booster doses for the elderly and people in risk groups.” 


People between the ages of 65 and 79 years old and young people with risk factors, such as obesity, diabetes, poor kidney function or high blood pressure, are recommended to take one additional dose per year.

The new vaccination recommendation, which will start to apply from March 1st next year, is only for 2023, Johanna Rubin, the investigator in the agency’s vaccination programme unit, explained. 

She said too much was still unclear about how long protection from vaccination lasted to institute a permanent programme.

“This recommendation applies to 2023. There is not really an abundance of data on how long protection lasts after a booster dose, of course, but this is what we can say for now,” she told the TT newswire. 

It was likely, however, that elderly people would end up being given an annual dose to protect them from any new variants, as has long been the case with influenza.