Switzerland Loves Canada


Despite a swooning loonie, Canadians are still visiting Switzerland in increasing numbers. The first half of 2015 saw hotel overnights grow two per cent, setting an all-time record, reports managing editor, Michael Baginski in this week’s digital edition of Canadian Travel Press.

“Canada’s a fairly stable market for us,” says Evelyn Lafone, Switzerland Tourism’s Canadian director. “We predict Canada won’t grow as much as the US, but it’s still steady.”

Swiss tourism officials revealed the positive news at the recent Swiss Travel Mart (STM) in Zermatt, which included a half dozen Canadian trade delegates, largely focused on skiing and custom itineraries.

Of course, large operators like Air Canada Vacations, TravelCorp. Globus/Cosmos and Transat represent mass market or multi-country itineraries, representing thousands of visitors to the central European country each year.

Lafone says 70% of Canadians (outside of the aforementioned tours), tend to spend about five days in Switzerland before heading off to other European destinations.

Both culture and outdoors are the main calling cards, plus skiing in winter.

Lafone says Canadians see Switzerland as a highly experiential destination, especially because of its world-class skiing and snowboarding, but she adds, “there’s a misconception that Switzerland is a winter destination. We try to show that it has a lot of seasons.”

June and September are especially excellent for visitors wishing to avoid the high summer season, she adds.

Switzerland Tourism statistics point to Lucerne as the top leisure destination for Canadians (and third overall), following Zurich, Geneva, and ahead of Zermatt, Basel, Lausanne, and Bern (along with several locales association with Zurich and Geneva airports).

For the full story, check out this week’s digital edition of Canadian Travel Press by clicking here.