Lucerne Starting to Choke on too Many Visitors

by swisscham in General Interest

The city of Lucerne is facing more and more complaints from locals about traffic problems in the centre of town, often caused they say by the presence of tourist buses dropping off visitors from China and elsewhere who are looking for luxury watches to take home. The number of tourists visiting Lucerne could break a record this year, with up to five million day trippers and one million overnight stays expected by the end of 2013 if the current trend continues, Marcel Perren, head of Lucerne Tourism, told the NZZ am Sonntag newspaper. Asian travellers make up a large share of the visitors. Lucerne has become a very popular destination with mainland Chinese, as well as for travellers from Taiwan and Hong Kong. So far 120,000 have stayed in the area since the beginning of the year, eight per cent more than in 2012, and twice as many than five years ago. Most Chinese visitors travel as part of groups and get around in buses. “Sales related to group travel have developed favourably,” admitted the city’s head of business development Peter Bucher to the NZZ, “but there are times when the capacities at Schwanenplatz are exceeded.” Kurt Haerri, President of the Swiss-Chinese Chamber of Commerce, warns that far more Chinese are on their way. “If Lucerne wants to continue developing this market, the city will have to find new solutions to welcome them, otherwise it will lose the support of the local community.”

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