- Strong demand anticipated from Gulf Cooperation Council countries visitors with crystal-clear lakes, outstanding natural beauty, fresh air and outdoor activities enticing visitors.
- New ruling allows GCC residents, who have been vaccinated with EMA and WHO approved vaccination, entry into Switzerland without any pre-travel PCR test or quarantine on arrival.
- Gulf tourists were responsible for approximately one million overnight stays per annum in Switzerland pre-pandemic.
Tourism officials in the Canton (state) of Graubunden, also known as Grisons, in Switzerland are gearing up for a busy summer as the Swiss government prepares to open its borders on 26 June to visitors from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries who have been fully vaccinated.
The new ruling, which was ratified on Wednesday 23 June, now allows GCC residents who have been vaccinated with a European Medical Agency (EMA) and WHO approved vaccination, such as Pfizer or Sinopharm (up-to 12 months after vaccination), entry into Switzerland without any pre-travel PCR test or quarantine on arrival.
“Switzerland and the Graubunden region in particular have always been favorite holiday destinations for tourists from the Gulf and with the re-opening of the borders, we look forward to welcoming them again this summer.
“This year in particular, the fresh air, outstanding natural beauty, mild climate and healthy outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, and sailing make it the perfect destination for family pursuits,” said Tamara Loeffel, Head of Business Development, Visit Graubunden.
And according to official sources, in the years prior to the pandemic, Gulf tourists were responsible for approximately one million overnight stays per annum in Switzerland, with daily expenditure of around US$ 466 per day each.
Many of the GCC visitors are leisure tourists, travelling mostly during the summer months. Residents from the UAE and Saudi Arabia make up the bulk (70%) of the tourist arrivals to Switzerland from the GCC, with Kuwait and Qatar accounting for over 10% with the balance coming from Bahrain and Oman.