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Swiss tourism sector prepares for return of Chinese travelers

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-08-23 10:06

Boats prepare to line up on Leman Lake to reveal the invisible French-Swiss border during an artistic event called "Brief Alignment" by Lausanne architect Bastian Marzoli, in Saint-Gingolph, near Geneva, Switzerland, May 2, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

Tourism offices in Switzerland are "planting the seed" to prepare for a possible return of Chinese travelers in the Alpine country as the industry "suffered" from a sharp drop of overseas tourists, a tourism official has said.

Lei Zhao, Market Manager for Geneva's tourism office Fondation Geneve Tourisme & Congres, told Xinhua in an interview on Wednesday that the year 2019 was one of the best for tourism, and they had even higher expectations for 2020.

"But suddenly, everything stopped," she said, explaining that besides the first two months of 2020, there were "almost no tourists from China."

The global pandemic brought travel worldwide to an almost complete halt in 2020, as the world started its fight against coronavirus.

China was the third biggest market for Swiss tourism in 2019, and the Chinese tourists accounted for 101,000 overnight stays, a number that has been reduced to some 12,000 in 2020, according to official figures from Switzerland Tourism.

Zhao said the Geneva office is now preparing for a possible return of Chinese travelers and has developed several applications to guide Chinese tourists in the streets of Switzerland.

Her office has also launched several media accounts to promote Switzerland in China, generating about 10 million views on the Chinese short-video platform Douyin.

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