More than a winter wonderland, Switzerland continues to refine its classic tourism product. Natalie Hami writes.
Famed for much more than its expert cheese and chocolate-crafting abilities, Switzerland’s enviable and rugged landscapes call out to be explored. Enticing visitors from far and wide, the destination’s tourism industry has been capitalising on its many natural attributes and strengths.
With plenty to be experienced, a newly launched collaborative initiative, ‘Stopover Switzerland’, now provides visitors with the opportunity to visit a variety of sights and cities in a short period of time. The collaboration between Swiss International Airlines (SWISS), Switzerland Tourism and Switzerland Travel Centre, allows travellers to extend their stopover in Switzerland by one to four nights.
The programme offers eight customisable travel packages, which include a number of advantages that visitors can enjoy during their stay, such as accommodation in a three- or four-star hotel and public transportation.
Visitors wanting to cover as much ground as possible in just a few short days have the option to choose one Swiss city in which they can set up base, to explore and discover the rest of the destination.
One particular property that is capitalising on its ability to host guests in multiple cities is the luxury five-star Burgenstock Resort Lake Lucerne.
Communications manager, Katara Hospitality, The Bürgenstock Selection, Jonas Reif exclusively told TTG: “We collaborate closely with our two sister properties: Hotel Schweizerhof Bern, located in the Swiss capital Bern, a UNESCO-heritage city, and the Royal Savoy Hotel & Spa in Lausanne, located in the French-speaking region of Switzerland. Guests can take a tour of Switzerland and stay in the three properties.”
EXPERIENCES TO LAST A LIFETIME
Zooming into the Alpine destination of St. Moritz, head of sales, Engadin St. Moritz Tourismus AG, Massimo Boni spoke to TTG about the resort’s impressive appeal: “The lifestyle in St. Moritz is a unique blend of bustling activity, nature, culture, sports and relaxation. Breath-taking landscapes meet culinary extravagance, high-class events, luxury and design, to create a uniquely exclusive lifestyle that can only be found in St. Moritz.” Even laying claim to celebrity appeal, the likes of Audrey Hepburn and Alfred Hitchcock previously visited the destination, Boni shared, while Charlie Chaplin also landed his plane on the frozen Lake St. Moritz.
Indeed, the resort’s versatility is reflected in its diverse activities. Visitors can hit the slopes, enjoy ice-skating or experience the destination’s stunning hiking trails. For the retail aficionado, shopping at Via Serlas (the shopping mile of St. Moritz) awaits them, while art enthusiasts can enjoy a recently opened space in the heart of the Engadin Valley, Hauser & Wirth, with exhibition works by the renowned late French-American artist, Louise Bourgeois.
Located amongst the towering mountains of St. Moritz, Nira Alpina Switzerland is offering guests the unique chance to try out ‘night skiing’ on Piz Corvatsch, according to the property’s general manager, Claudia Pronk, who highlighted that on a Friday night, skiing is permitted until 01:00, making for a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Meanwhile, general manager, Grand Hotel des Bains Kempinski, Konstantin Zeuke revealed to TTG that this historic property will be focusing on ‘automotive tourists’ this year, ‘who want to experience pure driving pleasure on one of the spectacular mountain pass roads that lead to St. Moritz’.
He further added: “In the winter, we have our in-house ski school which offers a wide range of sport experiences, and in the summer, together with a local DMC, we offer a complimentary programme of outdoor discoveries, such as mountain biking, goat trekking, sailing or a glider flight experience.”
A top European destination for GCC travellers in particular, Switzerland forever eyes the MENA market, eager to further capitalise on its immense potential.
Zeuke noted that guests from the GCC are steadily growing in both summer and winter, with the luxury property keen to further increase its knowledge on this unique market.
“As part of Kempinski Hotels, we leverage from the experience and close relations in the MENA market. Our sister hotels in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt, as well as the global sales office in Dubai, are only a phone call away and are always pleased to support us with their advice and recommendations.”
General manager, Hotel Villa Honegg, Sebastian Klink echoed a similar sentiment, highlighting that the property is looking to strengthen its ties with the MENA market.
“The MENA market is already an important market for us. We usually try to increase the amount of guests from these countries. This year we are searching for travel influencers from this region to work with the Swiss tourism industry.”
Pronk of Nira Alpina Switzerland also said that the property will work hard to entice the Middle Eastern market for the summer season.
TRADITION OF WELLNESS
Complementing mythical belief in the Alps as a place of healing, medical tourism has become a priority for Switzerland’s tourism movers and shakers.
According to Reif, the recently-opened Burgenstock Resort Lake Lucerne plans on focusing on the medical and health segment at its forest-hotel, Waldhotel Health & Medical Excellence – a five-star property that houses a state-of-the-art medical centre.
“Medical tourism is definitely a tourism trend for 2019 and we seek to position the hotel as a health destination for prevention and detox in Switzerland. Guests of the Waldhotel benefit from Switzerland’s long-standing health tourism history and the excellence of Swiss medical services, as well as the expertise of renowned Prof. Med. Verena Briner.”
Waldhotel Health & Medical Excellence features an elite team of multidisciplinary physicians, ranging from cardiology, internal medicine, dermatology, orthopaedics, psychosomatics, dentists and nutrition and gastroenterology experts.
Reaching out to key markets, Switzerland is successfully showcasing its best features and capitalising on its tourism strengths to push its tourism industry to greater heights.