Ten travel consultants departed today, for a week-long familiarization trip to Switzerland, sponsored by Switzerland Tourism. They were “Top Bookers” from a 6-month “Touring Switzerland” campaign, targeting Asian travel consultants to promote longer stays of more than 4 days for fully independent travel (FIT) customers. Organised by GTA, part of the Kuoni Group, in partnership with Switzerland Tourism, the promotion ran from 1 April to 30 September 2015 and promoted the Swiss Tourism industry new travel itineraries – the Grand Tour of Switzerland for self-drive visitors and the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland using the all-in-one Swiss Travel Pass to explore by rail.
GTA saw huge volume transactions for Swiss holidays, with room bookings exceeding expectations with a 45% increase this year compared to the corresponding period last year. Top three markets that saw huge growths for room bookings exceeding 50% were China, India and Hong Kong. Zurich came out tops as Switzerland’s favourite destination with the most number of rooms booked by Asian visitors from all source markets except South Korea and India, which had more room bookings in Interlaken.
Daryl Lee, GTA’s Regional Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa said: “This year, the volume of room nights booked has exceeded our expectations twice over, and we believe this growth can be credited to Switzerland’s increasing popularity as a travel destination for the independent traveller looking for long-haul holidays offering complete flexibility. The Swiss Tourism industry has been very pro-active in raising more awareness about the wide range of activities that is available for visitors to see and do. The Grand Tour and Grand Train Tour are great products that our agents in Asia introduce to their customers looking for itineraries visiting cities like Zurich, Lucerne and Geneva, and including trips to lesser known enchanting towns found all across Switzerland.”
Asia’s “Top Booker” winners will have a first-hand experience of the Swiss way of travelling. With their 1st class all-in-one Swiss Travel Pass representing the very best of Swiss public transport, the travel consultants will learn about some of Switzerland’s top excursion attractions that can be visited by rail, and can be enjoyed all year round.
Activities planned for the trade familiarization tour include a boat trip from Thun to Interlaken, overnight stays in Leukerbad, a popular year-round destination with canyons and a thermal spring, and special experiences like assembling one’s own “Original Swiss Army Knife” at the Victorinox boutique in Geneva, and visiting a Swiss chocolatier to learn the secrets of chocolate making. The ten travel consultants will participate in the award ceremony in Thun on 12 November where Mr Jürg Schmid, CEO of Switzerland Tourism and Mr Ivan Walter, CEO of GTA will present each country winner their “Top Booker” awards.
Ivan Breiter, Director South East Asia, Switzerland Tourism said: “Our promotional partnership with GTA has definitely been a great initiative to grow tourist numbers from Asia. A large part of this credit is due to the support and hard work of GTA’s travel agents who have first-hand knowledge on what motivates their customers to book Swiss holidays. We are committed to the Asian Market increasing our resources and promotional activities steadily. Switzerland’s tourist attractions which are as diverse as our cultural identity. Switzerland is the ideal FIT destination, with its outstanding quality, attractiveness, and easy accessability.We will continue to deepen our partnership with GTA to reach out to the travel agent community in Asia next year, and will focus on the unique experiences in Switzerland . From full moon snowshoe walks to jodelling classes. From Ski beginner programs to Unesco World Heritage tours.
The “Touring Switzerland” promotion also awarded twenty consultants for the second and third “Top booker” award of their country, each winning a Victorinox Swiss Army watch worth more than CHF 500, sponsored by Switzerland Tourism and Victorinox. Other travel consultants who had booked Swiss holidays of minimum 4 days stay for customers during the campaign period each earned 4X g shop points from GTA’s loyalty programme for travel agents across all Asia source markets. Visit http://gshop-gta.com for more information on how travel consultants can earn points with every booking a client makes, with the opportunity to redeem points for rewards like smartphones, tablets, shopping vouchers, theme park tickets and hotel stays.