The Chillon Castle Foundation (FCC) rounded off 2022 with over 304,000 visitors, 65% of which were international tourists. Meanwhile, Swiss visitors remained loyal and sat firmly in the top spot.
2022 was an extraordinary financial year for the FCC, with the castle exceeding its objective of 238,000 visitors crossing the drawbridge, to reach a final tally of 304,140. As we emerged from COVID-19, visitor numbers grew by 55% compared with 2021 and the ratio of Swiss to international visitors reverted to pre-pandemic levels, with foreign tourists representing around 65% versus 35% Swiss. Of these local visitors, French speakers topped the podium (60%), followed by German speakers (38%) and Italian speakers (2%). Anne-Catherine Lyon, elected President of the FCC in July 2022 and head of the most visited monument in Switzerland, was very satisfied with the 2022 results and her strategic vision. She said, “The Chillon Castle Foundation excels in welcoming national and international visitors, while preserving the heritage of this major Swiss cultural site. As a finalist at the Swiss Women Administrator Awards 2022 (Prix du Cercle Suisse des Administratrices), the Foundation demonstrates and champions multiculturalism and gender equality.” This distinction forms part of a long-term strategy which will continue to promote diversity and sustainability.
In terms of visitor origin, the national audience remained loyal, earning itself top spot on the podium for 2022. The United States came in second place (14%), closely followed by France (9.5%), Spain (3.8%), Germany (3.4%), the United Kingdom (3%), Italy (2.5%), South Korea (2.1%), Singapore (2%) and Ukraine (1.8%) in the top ten. Since the 19th century, Chillon Castle has mostly welcomed international visitors, the most famous of which was the English Romantic poet, Lord Byron.
Marta Sofia Dos Santos, Director of the Chillon Castle Foundation, said 2022 was Chillon’s crowning glory, “We were thrilled to be able to return to business as usual and have recruited 12 new members of the team. Thanks to our contemporary art exhibition, ‘Caroline Tschumi – Illuminated Princesses’, we have relaunched a wide-scale cultural project and have seen the number of local visitors increase by 16%. In 2023, we hope to welcome back our Asian clientele, including the many Chinese visitors whom we have sorely missed.”
This year, the castle will be hosting its usual 40+ events, including a contemporary art exhibition entitled ‘Leah Linh – The Era of Peter II of Savoy’, on display from 14 September, plus the famous Scary Night at the Museum and even Swiss Castle Day. The programme will be split into themes, even down to the dishes served in Café Byron – the restaurant adjacent to the ancient fortress, managed by our partner Novae. You will find the full programme of events at www.chillon.ch and in the children’s programme.
Chillon Castle belongs to the State of Vaud and has been managed by the private entity, Chillon Castle Foundation, since 2022. It is one of the best-preserved medieval castles in Europe and is part of the region’s ‘four seasons’ year-round tourist offering.