A Swiss city is offering visitors a financial incentive to visit in the form of a gift card that can be used at various hotels, restaurants, cafés, bars and activities. With travel having been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Geneva is issuing the enticement to encourage the return of tourism.

Multicolored umbrellas hang from wires above the street in the Carouge area, Geneva.
Geneva is trying to encourage visitors to return to the city © Annette Ducasse/Shutterstock

The Geneva Gift Card has a value of 100 CHF (€93), and can be spent in 58 hotels and guesthouses, 66 bars and restaurants and a variety of attractions. Visitors receive it when checking in at a participating hotel or guesthouse, and must be staying for at least two nights to qualify. Only one card is given out per room, and they are valid until 31 December 2020, but it is prudent to note that any outstanding balance will not be refunded.

Geneva is Switzerland's second-largest city, and is home to the headquarters of the World Trade Organization, World Health Organization, International Committee of the Red Cross, and the second-largest branches of the United Nations and World Bank. It has many luxury hotels, boutiques, jewellers, restaurants and chocolatiers, but its counterculture dwells in Les Grottes, the Quartier des Pâquis and along the post-industrial Rhône.

Vevey and lake Geneva, as seen from the funicular ascending to Mont Pelerin
Geneva is issuing gift cards to visitors © trabantos/Shutterstock

Another advantage of visiting Geneva is that, when you arrive at Geneva International Airport, you can get a free 80-minute ticket for the city's public transport system. In addition, when you stay in a hotel, youth hostel or campsite, you will receive a "Geneva Transport Card," so public transport is free for the full duration of your stay. Public places with free Wi-Fi access include Geneva's lakefront, La Perle du Lac, Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Parc de la Grange et Parc des Eaux-Vives and Plaine de Plainpalais.

Switzerland is open to tourists from countries with a low risk of infection rates. People who have spent time in a country or area with an increased risk of infection and then enter Switzerland must go into quarantine. The countries and areas affected are set down in a list, which is regularly updated. Currently arrivals from the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, China and Ireland are among those who can bypass quarantine. A full list of mandatory quarantine countries can be viewed here.

To view the full list of businesses in which the Geneva Gift Card can be spent, please see here.

Lockdowns are easing globally as the planet adjusts to a new normal. Find out how COVID-19 is changing travel.

You might also like:

An insider's guide to Geneva
The best things in Schweiz are free: Switzerland on a budget

Explore related stories