In the beginning there was Thomas Cook — so to say.
Switzerland’s roots as a tourist destination can be traced back to 1863, when a documented tour led by the international travel company brought a group to the Central European country for a holiday, reports assistant editor, Ann Ruppenstein in this week’s digital edition of Travel Courier.
“We have 150 years of history of Switzerland as a travel destination,” Alex Herrmann, director, North America for Switzerland Tourism tells Travel Courier. “Over 150 years ago, the first groups came from the UK, so you have all these mountain railways, and the gondolas, etc., that have been built that make it very easy to access the mountains, and then you have an amazing network of hiking and biking trails.”
Known for its stunning scenery, the Alps, outdoor activities, mixture of city and country experiences and as the home of four distinct language regions and cultures, Switzerland continues to enjoy steady growth in Canadian arrivals. In fact, January to October 2017 saw an increase of 11.2% in arrivals and 8.6% in overnights over the same period in 2016.
“Switzerland has the answer to any travel trend out there,” he says. “Things like active and adventure travel — Switzerland is perfect for hiking and biking because it’s so accessible. Things like food and wine, today we call it organic, local, farm to table, here we just call it food. Many of the trends that you see in the food world these days with the local and the artisanal, all of these buzzwords, that’s just the way we’ve always eaten.”
With an increase in flights from Canada to Switzerland, as the Canadian dollar gains value to the Swiss franc, and with the ongoing addition of new experiences to be had in the destination, Pascal Prinz, director Canada and trade manager Central USA for Switzerland Tourism expects 2018 will be a great year for Canadian visits to his home country.
For the full story, check out the cover story in this week’s digital edition of Travel Courier.