Canadian visitation to Switzerland is up – why? Because of added value in-destination, new offerings, and a new agent training program that’s resonating with the agent community. In this week’s Friday Five, we sit down with Pascal Prinz, Director Canada, Switzerland Tourism to talk about Switzerland’s appeal, how to get the most out of a visit, and the one thing most people don’t know about the country.
We are committed to the Canadian market. Switzerland meets many travel trends such as experiential travel, multi-generational travel, soft adventure and pre- and post river cruise stays. Canadians are savvy travellers who look for meaningful experiences. They seem to find them in Switzerland. After a new record last year, with the best overnight results in 25 years, the growth continues with an increase of 3.9% in overnights from January until March in 2018 (in comparison with the same period last year).
Our Switzerland Travel Academy is popular. 300 Canadian agents have already enrolled. More than 20 new Canadians join every month. They become Switzerland Travel Experts in only three hours and get great benefits such as certification, the option to specialize and the rights to use the Switzerland Travel Expert logo. Qualified agents enter to win a trip to Switzerland and can become eligible for a Swiss Travel Pass to also experience our scenic trains on their own. www.myswitzerland.com/trade
This year, we promote biking “Back to Nature”. Canadians of all ages and fitness levels can ride along pristine lakes on e-bikes and trekking bikes in the flat parts or ride the Swiss Alps on road bikes. In addition to the stunning scenery, we offer well-marked routes, top infrastructure, and bike hotels. Switzerland hosts the mountain bike world championships and car-free “Ride the Alps” events. https://www.myswitzerland.com/en-ca/summervacations.html
Switzerland Tourism also just launched ‘Taste my Swiss City’. These culinary tours allow guests to experience Switzerland with all senses in our four language regions in eleven cities such as Lugano, Lausanne or Bern. The tours have been put together by locals especially for our guests. www.MySwitzerland.com/tastemyswisscity.
We see a trend to more design and numerous new mid-range 3-star hotels in Swiss cities opening up. Thanks to new and even more direct flights on SWISS and Air Canada this year, Switzerland is very accessible and also a great hub destination for every trip to Europe.
On a recent trip with Canadian journalists and tour operators, they were mesmerized by the turquoise colour of our water. During summer, everybody swims in our lakes and rivers. It’s free, fun, a great way to cool off and meet locals. Everybody is loose, having a good time and reconnecting with nature and themselves. It’s cleansing and nurturing the soul. I sometimes refer to it as the “Swiss Yoga”. Another fun fact: In the evening many of these swimming locations turn into hip bars.
First of all, I recommend travelling with the Swiss Travel Pass. It’s the most popular ticket and covers all of Switzerland. Once you arrive, you don’t pay any more because with the Swiss Travel Pass all the boats, trains, busses, 500 museums, 25 castles and 3 mountain excursions are free. For families, children up to 16 years travel for free if accompanied by at least one parent who has a Swiss Travel Pass. It offers great value for money. For guests who look for other excellent deals, shoulder season often offer those. And last but not least: I suggest visiting at least two different language regions to truly understand and feel Switzerland.