25 years in the making
Switzerland celebrates banner year from Canada
(Photo above: Pascal Prinz of Switzerland Tourism in his Toronto office with a recent Travel Courier cover story on Switzerland.)
Tourism to Switzerland is on a roll.
With an 11.2% increase in arrivals in 2017 and a 9.1% gain in overnights, Pascal Prinz, director Canada for Switzerland Tourism, says the destination noted the best results from the Canadian market in a quarter of a century.
“We just saw a record year, the best year for Switzerland in Canada, with the most Canadians visiting from Canada in 25 years,” he says. “This is exciting, business is up, business is good.”
The most popular regions for Canadians were Zurich, Geneva and Valais, while the Zurich region recorded the biggest jump in Canadian visits.
This year, biking is a strong focus of the promotional efforts for Switzerland. Along with spectacular scenery from rolling hills to lakes, rivers and mountains, he says cyclists may even encounter some new friends en route.
“We guarantee you the most enjoy-able bike ride in the world. Why do you think that is? We have an amazing infrastructure, so all the trails for bikers are super well marked, and you know when you take a break you can even have a chat with the cows,” he says with a smile.
From May to September, the destination is also offering vehicle-free “Ride the Alps” events for clients who want to ride the Swiss Alps without any cars.
“We will close down 12 mountain passes across Switzerland, so you can ride the alps car-free, there will be music festivals, and of course, good food and lots of happy people from all over the world,” he says.
Closer to home, Switzerland Tourism is sponsoring free bike share rides in select cities across North America, including Montreal.
“Switzerland, we give you the ride of your life – amazing infrastructure, landscapes, and then our four official languages that give you a lot of variety, plus the convenience,” he says, noting the Swiss Travel Pass allows visitors to travel across the country by rail, road and waterways on an all-in-one ticket.
For travel agents interested in becoming Switzerland Travel Experts, he says the trade can visit the Switzerland Travel Academy at www.myswitzerland.com/trade .
“It’s three hours, we keep it short and sweet,” he says.