Tourism: In 2017, Geneva beats its record for overnight stays

Tourism. Geneva, The City of Calvin set a new record, with over three million overnight stays in 2017. The destination had never exceeded this figure since the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) began compiling data on this in 1934. A very good year for conferences, as well as a focused digital strategy set up to develop leisure tourism, have contributed to these results.


Tourism. A record year marked by the return of the Swiss and the arrival of the Chinese
2017 was a landmark year for tourism in Geneva. The destination recorded a total of 3,054,435 overnight stays, representing an increase of 4.3% compared to 2016. This was an historic record, as Geneva had never exceeded three million overnight stays since the FSO had begun to record statistics on this in 1934.  Swiss tourists took first place, marking their return to the City of Calvin with an increase of 5.4%. Also making it to the podium were the United States (+4.8%) and China (+15.6%), followed closely by Brazil (+23.5%) and France (+3.3%). While Switzerland saw a decrease in visitors from the Gulf countries (-4%), Geneva Tourism was able to maintain a steadier level of attendance (-1%) through focused strategies targeting this market.

A prosperous year for business tourism
2017 was a very good year in terms of conferences. Geneva has seen ten years of considerable growth in business tourism, with the last two years proving to be particularly fruitful. Anja Loetscher, Director of the Convention Bureau, explains,

“The destination hosted several major conferences last year, including three with over 5,000 participants. These results come after a great deal of work from our office to implement innovative strategies, in close collaboration with the State, the City, the University, Geneva University Hospital, campus Biotech and also CERN.”

These efforts have been rewarded with, among others, the MICE Achievement Award 2017 in the category for “outstanding achievements that inspire and set an example to the whole sector”, awarded to Ms. Loetscher by the awards’ German umbrella organization, Mbt Meetingplace.

A cutting-edge digital strategy to promote leisure tourism
With a clear market position and success-driven strategies, Geneva Tourism is also having success in promoting leisure tourism. To achieve this, the Foundation has developed invaluable expertise in digital technology, a key driver of its promotion strategy. As evidence of the innovative nature of its approach, tech giant Facebook has been quick to cite its #MumRelax campaign as an example of success. Head of Marketing at Geneva Tourism, Vincent Dubi, says,

“In Switzerland, Geneva is a pioneering destination. Our approach to social networks has been particularly focused. We communicate with our priority markets in 5 languages and have created different Facebook pages specific to each of them. Geneva is the Swiss destination with the strongest presence on the Chinese social networks WeChat and Weibo, a market experiencing strong growth. Lastly, let’s not forget the many successful digital campaigns that we launch every year, accompanied by media support from renowned influencers. The #FuelforTwo campaigns in 

Europe or the “Best Geneva Experience” in the Chinese market are very good examples illustrating these successes.”

The destination’s website, translated into 8 languages including Arabic and Chinese, is among the top 25 best sites in the field of tourism, according to Skift. To allow the destination to continue to shine, Geneva Tourism has recently been offering seminars that enable the destination’s tourism partners to perfect their knowledge of the digital domain.

A double-winning leisure destination
Also in 2017, Geneva received several accolades confirming these good results: in addition to the Luxury Travel Award, it also won in the World Travel Award “best European ‘city break’ destination 2017” category. Geneva offers its visitors high quality services. Its accommodation offer is outstanding with the availability of great weekend deals. In addition, its many innovative services such as free public transport or access to the Geneva Pass make it an ideal destination for short stays or as a starting point for the Alps.
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