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Back to Nature! Switzerland launches its latest call

June 27, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Wonderful Swiss mountain huts, with superb alpine views, can be hired from about AUD 240 a week (commissionable to agents) as one of the elements in ‘Back to Nature’, Switzerland’s 2017 northern summer tourism campaign.

‘Back to Nature’ will remain Switzerland Tourism’s overarching marketing focus for the next two years. A Swiss delegation is touring Australia to introduce the campaign, which has three elements: ‘My Swiss Experience’, ‘Wildlife Watching’, and ‘Alpine huts’.

“What you get is priceless,” Mark Wettstein, Switzerland Tourism’s Sydney-based director Australia and New Zealand, said in Sydney yesterday when speaking of the alpine huts. Wettstein added that he enjoyed one of the best holidays of his life, as a child, staying with a friend in a similar hut. For many years, the only way to stay in one of the huts was to know someone who owned one. Now, however, some have been converted to chalets, maintaining all their charm and perfect views, while being available for hire.

Angela Meier, Area Manager, Zurich Tourism

Alpine Huts offer visitors the chance to stay close to nature, far away from the hustle and bustle of city life. For the first time ever, travellers have direct access to traditional huts that have been used for generations as summer residences by local cheesemakers or shepherds and their animals. While some huts have been luxuriously refurbished, most retain their original conditon and character, without mod-cons such as dishwashers, hot tubs, cable TV or broadband. This lets visitors truly detach themselves from their modern-day lifestyle and reconnect with the natural surrounds.

Mark Wettstein, Switzerland Tourism Director Australia and New Zealand, launches the new campaign in Sydney’s Centennial Park yesterday

Simply put: “Nature wants you back!”

Switzerland Tourism will use the themes in ‘Back to Nature’ to inspire nature and outdoor lovers to discover the many different experiences on offer around Switzerland, and also to encourage city-dwellers to take a break and re-connect with Mother Nature.

Rayomand Chokski, Titlis Glacier Mountain sales director India, Korea, Japan, GCC, Australia

“While many of our visitors are well acquainted with Switzerland’s no-filter-required picturesque landscape as well as the cheese, chocs and clocks, interests in other authentic experiences are growing,” Wettstein said yesterday.

“Travellers are looking for new and different activities, knowledge and involvements to enhance their journey and itineraries; and getting to know or interacting with locals to learn about their ways of life is a major appeal.”

Visitors from Australia and New Zealand continue to stream into Switzerland, which has enjoyed year-on-year growth averaging 4% over the past three years. The first quarter of 2017 alone has seen a 14% increase in overnights in the country by visitors from Australasia. Total number of overnights from this market in 2016 reached 323,000.

Wonderful Swiss alpine huts

Switzerland’s wide appeal to the various niche interests among travellers keeps tourists coming, while Switzerland Tourism focuses its marketing efforts on emerging trends, Wettstein said.

Responding to growing demands by travellers to experience local ways of life, My Swiss Experience offers visitors all sorts of possibilites, many hosted by locals. Travellers searching My Swiss Experience online will find more than 700 suggestions, all of which are listed and searchable via categories including interests, regions, duration, seasons and other filters.

Wildlife watching, accompanied by professional guides, lets animal lovers encounter a range of Swiss wild animals in their  natural habitats, including marmots and ibex, red deer, beavers, chamois and bearded vultures. More than 100 day-tours (from one to seven hours) are committed to the protection of wildlife and environment.

François Michel, vice president and marketing director of VAUD, Lake Geneva Region, mentioned Swiss wine, which is excellent but seldom seen outside Switzerland. In another development, at the end of the northern summer, Aquatis Aquarium-Vivarium will welcome its first visitors in Lausanne. It will be the largest freshwater aquarium in Europe at 3500 squre metres. Some 50 individual aquariums, vivariums, and terrariums will accommodate close to 10,000 fish and reptile species.

Angela Meier, Area Manager, Zurich Tourism, said novel experiences included Witches in Zurich, a theatrical tour following the footsteps of Anna Göldi, the city’s last witch. In the 18th century Göldi lived in Zurich where she rebelled against the authorities. Actress Margrita Wahrer performs the story of the witch.

Another option: trekking with goats. The goats can carry your lunch or pack. Kids love it. Human kids that is. Then there’s Turicum gin, distilled in the heart of Zurich. Turicum was Zurich’s name in Roman times. After a few Turicum gins, you can try ascending Titlis, Glacier Mountain, in the world’s only revolving cable car. Rayomand Choksi, regional sales director for Titlis, mentioned the revolving cable car. It’s the world’s only one, so visitors shouldn’t miss it.

Three useful websites are: www.myswitzerland.com/myswissexperience, www.myswitzerland.com/alpinehuts, and www.myswitzerland.com/wildlifewatching.

Written by Peter Needham

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