Jungfrau Railway Group records drop in guest numbers
In 2020, which was marked by the coronavirus crisis, the Jungfrau Railway Group recorded a drop in guest numbers at the Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe, all Experience Mountains and in the winter sports segment. In addition to the early end of the winter season, the 83-day closure of the tourist rail- and cableways also has to be taken into account. Although Jungfrau-bahn Holding AG was able to welcome many Swiss guests during the summer months, this was not enough to compensate for the absence of international tourists. Despite excellent snow conditions, the start of the current winter season was adversely affected by the second wave of the pandemic.
362,800 guests visited Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe in 2020. This is 65.6 percent fewer than in the record year 2019 and a similar number as the figures last seen in the 1980s. 2020 got off to a very good start. The Jungfrau Railways recorded the best January in its history. Then, the numbers started to drop in February due to the spread of Covid-19. From mid-March, all tourist rail- and cableways had to cease operations due to the officially imposed lockdown.
The rail- and cableways did not reopen until 6 June 2020 under inclement weather conditions. That changed in summer. Thanks to the good weather and the positive effect of the various promotional campaigns in Switzerland, 153,000 people travelled to the Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe in July and August. The autumn holidays then fell victim to the mostly poor weather, while in November the fine autumn weather led to satisfying guest numbers. Overall, the figures show that the drop in foreign guests numbers cannot be compensated for by the Swiss. The changing markets led to major fluctuations in visitor numbers resulting in the deployment of rolling stock and staff being planned at short notice for the first time on the basis of the weather conditions.
The Experience Mountains segment also recorded a general drop in 2020. For the First aerial cableway resulted a drop of 42.2 per cent for the whole year (summer and winter). The Mürren rail- and cableway had 50.3 per cent fewer guests than in 2019 and the Harder funicular railway registered 57.2 per cent fewer visitors.
The 2020/2021 winter sports season started on 5 December 2020 with the opening of the entire V-cableway project, including the Eiger Express, the terminal and the multi-storey car park. The new facilities and buildings attracted a considerable interest and many guests wanted to take their first ride on the modern Eiger Express 3S aerial cableway in 2020. In addition, the Eiger Express was actively used by winter sports enthusiasts to get from Grindelwald to the ski slopes at the Eiger Glacier in 15 minutes.
Owing to the ongoing uncertainty as to whether the skiing areas will be allowed to start or continue their operations at all because of the pandemic, advance sales of the Top4 ski pass (partner offer from Adelboden-Lenk, Gstaad, Jungfrau Ski Region and Meiringen-Hasliberg) were lower than in previous years. 28,400 Top4 ski passes (compared to 42,200 passes in 2019) were sold by 24 December 2020. From the start of the season to 31 December 2020, the Jungfrau Ski Region registered 153,700 skier visits and recorded a decrease of 7 per cent year on year. The Jungfrau Ski Region is a partnership in which the Jungfrau Railway Group holds more than 60 per cent.