Switzerland Celebrates Affinity with British Columbia
with Vickie Sam Paget
Switzerland Tourism marks Canadian visitor record with raclette dinner for Western advisors
For Canadian travellers – especially those in the West -- Switzerland can be something of a no-brainer.
Andreas Rufer, Consul General of Switzerland in Vancouver, welcomes the crowd.
With more direct flights from YVR to choose from and a whole host of natural attractions that appeal to Canada’s great-outdoors-loving Western clients, Switzerland is a big hit with travellers from the West.
“British Columbia is becoming more and more important to us as a market,” explained Pascal Prinz, director for Canada at Switzerland Tourism, at a traditional raclette dinner for 20 travel advisors in Vancouver this week. “Part of that is because we have more direct flights with Air Canada and SWISS.”
Pascal Prinz, director for Canada, Switzerland Tourism.
There are up to nine weekly direct flights on Air Canada and SWISS/Edelweiss between May and October from Vancouver to Zurich. And Switzerland’s fabulous array of natural attractions is a big draw for Western Canadian clients.
“People here in B.C. love nature and they love the Rockies,” Prinz added. “So my message here is very clear: If you have clients going to Europe who like nature, they must include Switzerland and the Swiss Alps.
François Michel, vice-president Lake Geneva Region and Adrien Genier, director of Geneva Tourism and Congress.
“Our market research shows how the affinity in British Columbia for Switzerland has strongly increased in the last four years. Your Rocky Mountains in B.C. are amazing, so if you have clients visiting Europe, make sure they visit the Swiss Alps. They will have a wonderful time.”
There was plenty more good news to share at the event, which was hosted by Andreas Rufer, Consul General of Switzerland in Vancouver, and featured news updates from representatives from the Lake Geneva and Matterhorn region.
Jade Guerne of Switzerland Tourism with Alec Lamaa of Valais/Wallis Promotion.
Upcoming events in this popular region include the Youth Olympics in January, the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) ‘Watches & Wonders’ event in April, and the Ice Hockey World Championships in May.
Events such as these only add to the appeal of Switzerland for Canadian clients, said Prinz.
“Switzerland is very popular in Canada,” he added. “Two years ago we had a new record in terms of overnights from Canada -- a growth of around 10% -- and then last year we had another growth of almost 10%. This year we are up by 3% in terms of overnights -- from January to September in comparison with the same period in 2018 -- so we are again heading towards a record year.”
Alec Lamaa and Emilie Morard of Valais/Wallis Promotion showcase their famous raclette.
Visitor figures from the Swiss Federal Office of Statistics reveal that the most popular destinations with Canadians last year were the Zurich region (76,344 overnights), the Geneva region (50,982 overnights) and the Valais (24,244 overnights). With 33.6% more overnights in 2018, the Basel Region recorded the biggest growth in Canadian visits.
“Travel agents can make good money selling Switzerland because their clients will love it,” added Prinz. “Canadians feel rejuvenated and truly alive during their vacation in Switzerland. Your clients will not be disappointed – they will come back happy.”
Melted and served with a selection of charcuteries and pickles, Raclette cheese is a genuine piece of Swiss culture.
Vickie Sam Paget Western Correspondent
Hailing from the UK, Vickie Sam Paget is a travel and tourism storyteller located in Vancouver, BC. When she’s not on the road, creating engaging travel content or gazing at the North Shore Mountains, you can usually find her curled up with a good book or sipping a pint of the good stuff in her local Irish bar.