Switzerland woos tourists in the new season
By By Meera Ashar | 26 Oct 2007
According to Ritu Sharma, market manager, India, Switzerland Tourism, "there has been a 14.7 per cent increase of Indian travellers to Switzerland in the last season clearly showing the increasing popularity of Switzerland as a travel destination amongst Indian travellers."
Amongst other incentives, Swiss International Airlines has announced a new direct daily flight between Delhi and Zurich beginning 25 November 2007. While Mumbai was the only direct flight point to Switzerland till now, with the launch of the new route, travellers have a choice of 14 flights a week directly to Zurich from either Mumbai or Delhi.
It is not just travel to Switzerland but also travel within Switzerland that is shaping up for the new tourist season. The completion of the new Lotschberg Base Tunnel cuts train travel from Zurich / Berne to the Matterhorn region (Zermatt and Brig) by 30-75 minutes.
Rail Europe also offers special discounts and packages to tourists. The Swiss pass, the Swiss flexi pass and the Swiss youth pass allow tourists to explore Switzerland by train, bus and boat. If travelling in a group of two or more, each receives a 15 per cent discount. Swiss passes include Swiss museum passes offering free admission to more than 400 museums. Rail Europe bonus partners also offer up to 50 per cent discounts on cable cars and mountain excursions.
For those who think of trains as more than just a medium of transport, there is the Golden Pass Line, which runs the panoramic trains of Switzerland. Amongst other luxury trains, the Golden Pass service has introduced a ''Chocolate Train'' in collaboration with Callier- Nestle. This train takes you through Gruyeres and Broc to discover the country of Gruyere cheese and Swiss milk chocolate.
Switzerland is also gearing up to welcome group business travellers classified as MICE or those who come for meetings, conventions and exhibitions by offering attractive incentives and offers. Since the Swiss frank is valued lower than the euro, business travel to Switzerland is definitely more value for money.
only disincentive for travellers to Switzerland is that they need a separate visa
and cannot enter Switzerland on a Schengen visa. However there is a move to include
Switzerland within the Schengen visa and this integration is likely to be completed
by August 2008, according to Federico Sommaruga, director, Russia / CIS, India,
GIC and emerging markets, Switzerland tourism.