Switzerland is ready for the rebound
When describing Switzerland Tourism’s strategy to stay engaged and strengthen relationships with travel trade partners during the pandemic, Pascal Prinz, Director Canada, likens it to being a hockey player actively waiting in anticipation of the next play.
“When the pucks come back and rebound, we want to get as many of these pucks or rebounds or travel credits or whatever it is, as possible,” Prinz tells Canadian Travel Press.
“It’s clearly our goal and our strategy to stay top of mind, to be visible. That’s why we are supporting agents — we want to give agents leads and we believe it would be wrong now just to hide until this pandemic is over and then to come back. I think it’s right now that we need to support the trade. This is really where we show our loyalty and our strong commitment.”
To keep the destination poised for a strong comeback, Switzerland Tourism is amidst its “I need Switzerland” campaign inviting Canadians to enter to win a trip across consumer, trade and social media.
On Nov. 16 and 17, the destination also went virtual for a trade event called the Road to Switzerland, connecting 77 buyers across North America with 30 Swiss suppliers.
“We believe now more than ever it›s important to strengthen relationships,” said Paolo Lunardi, Manager, Trade Relations, North America.
The event was geared at tour operators and travel agents to receive information and tools to better sell and promote Switzer-land in the future, as Switzerland Tourism believes the trade will be increasingly important when international travel to Europe resumes.
Lunardi also highlighted some of the new developments that are opening soon in Switzerland. These include the launch of the Eiger Express tri-cable aerial cableway in December, which will take visitors from the Grindelwald terminal to the Eiger Glacier station in 15 minutes — meaning they can be on the Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe 47 minutes faster than before. Another December opening is the Ceneri Base Tunnel, which will cut travel time by train from Milan to Zurich down to three hours — 30 minutes faster than before.
Meanwhile, The circle at Zurich Airport, opened earlier this month. The new district of the airport features a convention centre, dining and shopping outlets, two new hotels — Hyatt Regency and Hyatt Place — with a total of 554 guest rooms and suites.
Although Switzerland has long been associated with being a safe, clean and well-organized destination, Claudio Zemp, Director Americas for Switzerland Tourism says these factors make it a natural choice for a post-COVID-19 trip.
“I’m convinced Switzerland is the perfect destination for the first post-COVID-19 vacation,” Zemp says. “Our beautiful alpine regions offer so many open spaces and outdoor activities where holidaymakers can reset and relax away from the masses. At the same time, our small boutique towns are ideal for holidaymakers who want to explore urban activities but are not too keen on going shopping and visiting museums in a multi-million metropolis. Our small cities are ideal, they offer all these fantastic activities in small spaces.”
Prinz echoes his sentiments, noting Switzerland has implemented sanitation standards, and tourism industry associations have created a Clean & Safe label across its hotels and attractions.
“We are definitely committed to the Canadian market and we cannot wait to bring Canadians back to Europe and to Switzerland,” he says. “Tripadvisor reviews clearly say that Swiss hotels rank 1st when it comes to cleanliness and I think until up to the pandemic we never thought about cleanliness being a key decision making factor for where you go on vacation, but it’s a new brave world.”