The association members can look back on an economically demanding year due to the corona pandemic. The lockdown in spring 2020, the extensive absence of intercontinental tourism in summer 2020 and the extensive official restrictions in winter 2020/21 have led to a drop in earnings of around 30 percent or CHF 100 million. In addition, the protective measures caused greater effort. Thanks to the short-time work allowances, most of the jobs were retained.
At the end of April, the board decided to hold the general meeting planned for Monday, May 31, 2021 at the Brunni-Bahnen Engelberg on the Ristis in writing. Sepp Odermatt, President of the TUZ, thanks all those involved who contributed in the challenging winter to the fact that winter sports could be practiced in Switzerland at all. Looking back, it can be said that a winter sports season was only possible thanks to the good cooperation between authorities, companies and associations.
The lockdown in spring 2020 and the extensive absence of intercontinental tourism in summer left deep marks in Central Switzerland. The picture is twofold: companies with a high proportion of international guests have to record large losses in sales, whereas companies with a higher proportion of the domestic market have achieved sales as expected.
The official closings of the ski areas over Christmas and the cantonal restrictions on ski operations and restaurants, which in some cases continued until February, had correspondingly negative effects on income. The short-time working allowances and, where possible, hardship allowances (e.g. for catering branches) brought relief. However, the loss of sales will have negative long-term effects on the companies' ability to invest and innovate. The tense pandemic situation in winter 2020/21 also made the Tell-Pass winter season more difficult. Almost all incoming markets have collapsed. The newly launched product SchneepassPlus, which is valid for a whole year, turned out to be a success and exceeded expectations (total sales +3 percent compared to the previous year).
In 2020, TUZ campaigned heavily for the reorganization of digital sales in Central Switzerland. Various members have expressed interest in a compatible, joint sales system. A framework agreement was concluded in April 2021. The cooperation with Luzern Tourismus AG was also strengthened in the area of digital projects.
Godi Koch, CEO of Pilatus-Bahnen, was confirmed on the board for a further three years. The Ägerisee Schifffahrt AG was accepted as a new member of the association. The regional association TUZ now represents the interests of 73 companies.
President Sepp Odermatt and Managing Director Adrian Bühlmann are confident about the coming summer season. The protective measures of the tourist transport companies and the mountain railways are coordinated with the public transport protection concept. With the advancing federal vaccination campaign, coupled with the applicable hygiene rules and the announcements by the Federal Council of the stabilization and normalization phase, there is growing confidence that demand will rise in the European internal market. The long-distance tourist markets are expected to recover over a longer period of time, which continues to test the resilience of the larger companies. Effects on companies' ability to invest and innovate are already becoming apparent.
The transport companies Central Switzerland (TUZ) form the association of tourism-oriented transport companies and comprise 73 member companies in 6 cantons from the rail, bus, ship and mountain railways sectors. The TUZ jointly issue the Tell-Pass and Central Switzerland Snow Pass. The members of the TUZ generated total sales of around CHF 300 million in the 2019 financial year and employed over 3,500 people. In the 2020 financial year, total sales fell to around CHF 200 million as a result of the pandemic.