Switzerland Tourism’s Pascal Prinz kicked off a gathering in Toronto last by highlighting the transformative power of travel — especially after a long pandemic.
“The power of travel, my dear friends. The last two years have been difficult, and I will be very honest, there were moments when I felt sad, depressed, heavy and travel is so good for mental health,” he said, addressing those gathered at the Sky Club patio overlooking the CN Tower. “It’s so good. So go out, travel, go to Switzerland, go to Europe. Talk about it. It is so good for you. Spread the love for this beautiful, amazing country. If you need nature, if you need culture, if you need wine, we are an amazing destination.”
Tourism partners from Andermatt, Basel, Engelberg / Mount Titlis, Interlaken Tourism, Jungfrau Region, Mount Pilatus, Mount Schilthorn, SWISS/Lufthansa Group, the Swiss Travel System, Ticino, and the Valais Matterhorn region joined Prinz as part of the Switzerland Travel Experience roadshow featuring stops in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver for a series of workshops to present new experiences, hotels and offers.
“Travel is back. Switzerland is open, you don’t need a test. We want to show Canadians how Switzerland is an amazing destination. We have all been cooped up at home, enough Netflix, go out and move, go hiking, go on a bike,” he said.
In terms of connectivity, Prinz said there are up to 30 weekly flights from Canada to Zurich and Geneva, Switzerland, this year.
Brendan Shashoua, Head of Sales Canada for Lufthansa Group at Swiss International Air Lines, said bookings across Lufthansa Group and its joint venture partner with Air Canada are strong.
“We’re doing really, really well for the summer. The outlook, pre-bookings are very strong, but we always say to the travel agent to tell their customers ‘don’t wait until the last moment to book’ because if you wait at a certain point you’re not going to have any seats left,” he told PressToday. “We have some flights in the 90s, seat load factor wise, really, really going well.”
Canadian gateways include Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and a Calgary route launching.
“There’s really a lot of options from all over Canada,” he said. “And then if we look at the Lufthansa Group across Europe, there’s 66 weekly frequencies between Canada and Europe, which compared to pre pandemic is one frequency shorter.”
Martin Oester, Sales & Marketing Manager North America, Swiss Travel System, said the eight-day Swiss Travel Pass, an all inclusive pass for unlimited travel throughout the country for trains, buses and boats, is offered at 20% off this year.
While summer and winter are popular times of year to visit, Prinz shared that there’s also something special about the fall.
“I expect and I’m hopeful for a very good fall,” he said. “I think autumn in Switzerland is an amazing time. We have lots of festivals, we have the wine harvest, the cow descent.”
Just like it sounds, the cow parade is an annual tradition of 350,000 cows coming down the mountains around the alps.