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Is ‘pump tourism’ a new travel trend?

Switzerland has a privileged position at the heart of Europe. Not only do residents have the glorious Swiss Alps and azure lakes to explore, they can easily border hop to other amazing destinations in Austria, France, Germany and Italy.

But travel can also be practical, and a more mundane reason is enticing the Swiss to France this summer.

Given the soaring costs of fuel, an increasing number of Geneva area residents are driving over the French border to fill up their cars.

The phenomenon has been described as ‘pump tourism’, overtaking the ‘shopping tourism’ that has long seen the Genevese buying cheaper goods in border towns.

A litre of fuel in Geneva now costs around 2.20 francs (€2.30) compared to €1.80 in the Haute-Savoie region, so - combined with a favourable exchange rate - the extended journey is worth it to some.
Some French politicians aren’t happy about this new tourism trend, however.


They point out that the cheaper pump prices in France are down to the government fuel rebate of 18 cents per litre, which is ultimately funded by French taxpayers.

“We absolutely have to give priority to French people,” Loïc Hervé, a senator from Haute-Savoie, told the Tribune de Genève paper earlier this month.

“We should not be helping out the rich, the Swiss, and foreign tourists. It’s as simple as that.