Livio Goetz and Birgit Weingartner, both Switzerland Tourism Livio Goetz and Birgit Weingartner, both Switzerland Tourism

Slowly through Switzerland: ‘Urge clients to take their time’

Agents should advise clients there is plenty to do in a 10 to 12-day stay in Switzerland, says Silvio Goetz, director Australia and New Zealand with Switzerland Tourism.

‘We are advising the trade to try to get people to stay longer, take it easy and see the smaller villages and rural areas, visit local craftsmen and really get into the mountains and lake areas.’

He says Switzerland is ideal for the slow travel movement and the trend fits well with the country’s ‘Swisstainable’ efforts.

‘This is not a campaign, it is more of a movement that is spread throughout the tourism industry, with some 1200 partners,’ he adds.

Switzerland Tourism and 10 Swiss partners held an agents’ function at Movenpick Auckland recently as well as a trade lunch in Christchurch.

There was a strong emphasis from the Swiss presenters on the hydro powered public transport system and the easy connections, as well as new ways to see the country in a leisurely and relaxed way.

Renato Julier, director markets with Interlaken Tourism, points to the new Golden Pass Express, a three-hour train journey that connects Interlaken to Monteux Lake Geneva. He is also highlighting a new rail connection between Zurich Airport and Interlaken, which departs every two hours.

Céline Deplazes, market manager for Lucerne Tourism, is making agents aware of a new multi-day e-bike route, known as 1291, which can be ridden in eight stages with an option of having luggage transported from one stop to the next.

There is also a new hiking option, the eight to nine-day Tell Trail (as in William Tell) that takes in the region’s ‘big six’ mountains.

Deplazes is another who encourages longer stays. ‘Lucerne is central so people can easily stay four or five nights and explore from there.’

Agents’ platform for Swiss Travel System

The Swiss Travel System has launched a new e-learning programme for the trade.

Market manager Andreas Nef, says the programme has built-in modules, which make it easy to work through stage by stage.

‘This is our platform to create a community and interact with travel agents,’ says Nef.

‘We’ve been adding a news programme with background information ad we will also provide regular updates to users.’

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