Major players within the Swiss travel and tourism industry have unveiled a new ‘Back in the  Air’ campaign with the aim of restoring freedom of travel.

The initiative is being supported by around 50 companies and organisations including Easyjet Switzerland, Geneva airport, TUI and Swiss International Airlines, and has presented three key demands to Swiss President Guy Parmelin, as follows:

  • A risk-based approach No travel restrictions between countries with a similar risk of infection. Safety should be achieved through an extensive vaccination and test-and-trace strategy.
  • Vaccination and testing Anyone who can prove that they have been vaccinated, have recovered from Covid-19 or have tested Covid-negative should be free to enter, leave or travel within Switzerland. A negative antigen test result should be considered adequate proof of no Covid infection.
  • Digital records Records of vaccination, recovery and/or negative Covid test results should be digitalized, and should also be internationally standardized and recognized.

The campaign said that the country’s travel agencies had seen an 80 per cent fall in bookings due to the pandemic, while passenger volumes at Swiss airports had slumped by 75 per cent.

“A well-functioning air transport sector is essential to landlocked Switzerland and its numerous international corporations,” the campaign said.

“But the Swiss air transport system is a complex one: it cannot be ramped up in days, but requires a longer lead time along with clear and consistent parameters to ensure its safe and orderly operation.

“The Swiss economy and Swiss society need to be able to make their travel plans with confidence, too. Ever-changing rules cause uncertainty and severely limit travel freedom. Which is why, given the progress that is being made in vaccinating the Swiss population and the coming summer tourist season, prompt solutions are now required to offer Switzerland’s economy new prospects and perspectives.”

Commenting on the initiative Swiss CEO Dieter Vranckx said:

“As a business and industrial location and as an export nation, Switzerland relies on having well-functioning air transport services. Travel must be made possible and plannable again – responsibly, with an awareness and appreciation of the associated risks, and with due and full regard to the protection concepts required.”