A Crazy Year But We’re Not Giving Up: Prinz

Seems only fitting that Pascal Prinz had the chance to announce that Switzerland had changed its entry rules — and made it easier for Canadians to visit — during an in-person event in Toronto late last week.

Prinz, director of Switzerland Tourism in Canada, welcomed a small group of travel trade types for a luncheon presentation at the Sky Club Fitness Plus Spa in downtown Toronto updating them on Switzerland’s change in entry requirements and offering them some insights on what the destination had on offer for Canadians in 2022.

The rapid spread of the Omicron variant has seen a number of countries around the world implement strict border control measures, with Switzerland initially implementing a 14-day quarantine rule for visitors from Canada as well as a number of other countries where the new variant of concern had been identified.

However, the Swiss government had a change of heart and, as of Dec. 4, removed the quarantine requirement for Canadians, replacing it with a ramped-up testing regime.

Now all visitors, including Canadians, will be required to show a negative PCR test in order to enter Switzerland and they will then need to take a second test 4 to 7 days following their arrival. The second test can be either a PCR test or antigen test.

Prinz noted that Canadians will still need to fill out the necessary government form and get the Swiss COVID certificate.

For Switzerland Tourism’s boss in Canada that is definitely good news, making it clear that the destination is ‘taking COVID seriously.’

For Prinz, the luncheon event was a ‘thank you’ to the tourist office’s industry partners and he observed that while it has been a “crazy year, we’re not going to give up,” and continued, “what makes me hopeful is [the support of] our partners.”

He also told his guests that the industry has ‘made progress’ in 2021 and “we’re going to get through this and we’ll be ready to welcome you next year.”

In that respect, Switzerland Tourism’s Canadian director pointed out that the destination has lots of flights out of Canada, observing “So, we need your help to fill these planes.”

Prinz noted as well that while people talk about travel becoming more expensive, that’s not the case in Switzerland where the cost of travel has dropped by 20%.

The group also enjoyed a video presentation by Mario Braide, director Asia and North America, VALAIS Matterhorn region, who took them on a tour of the region and outlined what his organization could offer the travel trade here in Canada.

In the photo 

Are we ready for raclette? … Switzerland Tourism’s Pascal Prinz and Laura Fairweather served up a tasty lunch to the tourist office’s travel trade partners in Toronto on Dec. 3.