TORONTO — There was lots to celebrate last night at one of Toronto’s first live in-person events hosted by Switzerland Tourism, marking the return of travel for vaccinated Canadians and the retirement of Ursula Beamish-Mader, Switzerland Tourism’s long-time and much appreciated media relations manager, North America.
Switzerland’s borders reopened to fully vaccinated Canadian travellers on June 26. Switzerland is now fully integrated with the EU’s Digital COVID Certification system. And with Canada also recently dropping the quarantine requirement for fully vaccinated Canadians upon return, some travel opportunities are finally opening up.
“We are excited to celebrate the return of travel for fully vaccinated Canadians with no quarantine or test required upon arrival,” said Pascal Prinz, Director, Canada for Switzerland Tourism, at last night’s event.
Canadians rediscovering their love for Switzerland can “hike and bike in the Swiss Alps, explore our boutique towns, swim in our turquoise lakes, discover in our four language regions and ride our scenic trains along palm trees and stunning glaciers,” Prinz added.
Air Canada and SWISS are resuming flights and increasing their frequencies from Toronto and Montreal to Zurich and Geneva up to three and four flights per week respectively.
To help promote the destination, the tourism board has brought on Callum Snape, a talented outdoor photographer based in Vancouver, to showcase Switzerland’s beauty. The idea is to inspire Canadians, so that they want to see Switzerland with their own eyes.
“Switzerland is an outdoor paradise,”says Claudio Zemp, Director, Americas for Switzerland Tourism. “We wanted to showcase what travel is like during COVID, show people travelling on the trains with their masks and the wide open spaces which people can enjoy.”
Canada is also the first market to bring travel agents back to Switzerland. Switzerland Tourism has joined forces with Air Canada to host the ‘Air Canada Race’ starting in two weeks in Basel. With 36 agents from Canada and the U.S. taking part, the trip will highlight new developments in Switzerland including many new properties like the Movenpick Hotel Basel, and the new Kempinski hotel in Engelberg.
In October, Switzerland will also be hosting 350 tour operators from around the world in Interlaken for the Switzerland Travel Mart (STM), with a strong contingency out of Canada.
Last night’s event, hosted in collaboration with Travelweek on the rooftop patio atop 130 Queen Quay East, where Travelweek has offices, ended with heartfelt well wishes for Beamish-Mader, and a positive message from Prinz.
“Thank you to all industry colleagues for joining us to celebrate the return of travel for fully vaccinated Canadians,” said Prinz. “With loud cowbell noise, we thank and congratulate the one and only Ursula Beamish on her upcoming retirement, you are an inspiration for all of us, and express our deep gratitude to Devin Kinasz and Travelweek for hosting us!”
More information about Switzerland can be found at myswitzerland.com.