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Swiss team unveils this year’s fantastic tourist array

March 30, 2015 Destination Global, Headline News No Comments Email Email

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A sample of Switzerland’s diverse and innovative array of travel product available this year was revealed on Friday when Swiss tourism experts briefed travel media in Sydney.

Visiting Australia were Esther Grob, Zürich Tourism Area Manager for Russia, India, Japan and Australia, based in Zürich, and Rayomand Choksi, Sales Director India, Korea, Japan, GCC and Australia for Titlis, Glacier Mountain, based in Mumbai.

From left- Rayomand Choksi, Titlis, Glacier Mountain_ Birgit Weingartner, Switzerland Tourism_  Esther Grob, Zurich Tourism_ Mark Wettstein, Switzerland Tourism.

From left: Rayomand Choksi, Titlis, Glacier Mountain; Birgit Weingartner, Switzerland Tourism; Esther Grob, Zurich Tourism; Mark Wettstein, Switzerland Tourism.

They joined Mark Wettstein, Switzerland Tourism Director Australia & New Zealand, and Birgit Weingartner, Switzerland Tourism Marketing Executive Australia and New Zealand. Wettstein and Weingartner are based at Switzerland Tourism’s Sydney office.

Wettstein arrived in Sydney in November last year and started his new Australia-based job a few weeks later, succeeding Evelyn Lafone. He was formerly manager of Airlines Affairs for Asia Pacific and Eastern Europe at Zürich airport and before that, Account Manager of Business Sales in Switzerland for Lufthansa Switzerland.

He is greatly enjoying his new, Sydney-based role.

Among the fabulous array of tourism experiences on offer to Aussies visiting Switzerland this year and next are:

  • The Grand Tour. It covers about 2000km around the country and exposes visitors across to five Alpine passes, 22 lakes, 13 UNESCO World Heritage sites and less frequented towns. It gives insights into the extraordinary lives, traditions and customs of locals. Routes can be tailored to suit any length of stay and according to different interests.

“Unlike other yearly themes we’ve had in the past, The Grand Tour is a permanent product and brand experience that puts our country’s most valuable assets such as the untouched scenery, diverse cultures, quirky traditions and the public transport system on display and on the radar of travellers,” Wettstein said. Rider:  Location: Engelberg

  • Swiss Travel Pass. This year, the Swiss Travel System is marketing its new, improved product range, emphasising shorter holiday stays and increased travel flexibility. The first major change was the rebranding of the popular all-in-one Swiss Pass, introduced 25 years ago, to the Swiss Travel Pass. New validity dates are three, four, eight and 15 days. The Pass, which is now printable from home, gives users unlimited travel on all public transport and access to 480 museums across the country.
  • Swiss Flexi Pass has now become Swiss Travel Pass Flex, best for visitors seeking flexible travel dates. Swiss Travel Pass Flex offers unlimited travel on all public transport on any three, four, eight or 15 selected days within one month.
  • Swiss Half Fare Card Combi. This product, offering 50% off travel by train, bus and boat and most mountain railways has replaced the discontinued half price travel between free days offered on the old Swiss Flexi Pass. However, this Combi card is only valid for purchase in conjunction with a Swiss Travel Pass Flex or Swiss Transfer Ticket.
  • Zürich Festival, 12 June – 12 July 2015. The Zürich Opera House, Schauspielhaus municipal theatre, Tonhalle Concert Hall and Kunsthaus Zürich will transform the city into a lively cultural centre. The varied program of events includes art exhibitions, readings, theatre productions and concerts. The Zürich Festival is held annually, and each year is devoted to a different theme. In 2015, the program is dedicated to the theme “MoneyPowerLove”. CandleLight Dinner, Kerzenlicht, Nachtessen; CandleLight Dinner, Dinner;
  • Zürich Pride Festival, 19-20 June 2015. The Zürich Pride Festival is a political and cultural festival of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) movement. The three-day program encompasses an opening and closing party, bars and food stands on the festival site, concerts and shows, various homosexually-oriented parties, conferences on specific themes and a parade through the inner city. Up to 30,000 people take part in the Festival each year, backing gay rights resisting discrimination againt gays and lesbians.
  • Il Tavolo, 24-28 June 2015. The Zürich food festival, “II Tavolo – Zurich’s Table”, combines Mediterranean joie de vivre with first-class Swiss cuisine and caters for food lovers of all ages. Throughout the city, guests dine at long communal tables, such as at the Opening Night, featuring Zürich’s gastronomic elite, or the Mediterranean-style II Mercatino Dinner, with its 200-metre-long table.
  • Street Parade, 29 August 2019. Since 1992, the most vibrant house and techno parade in the world has drawn hundreds of thousands of dance fans to Zürich’s lake basin to take part in the Street Parade. Around 30 Love-Mobiles – brightly decorated trucks packed with giant music systems, DJs and ravers – drive at walking pace through the crowd of spectators along the upper end of Lake Zürich.
  • Zürich Film Festival, 24 September – 4 October 2015. During the 11-day Zürich Film Festival, visitors and filmmakers have the opportunity to view domestic and international films, premieres and classics. As an additional highlight, the Festival attracts a number of internationally renowned celebrities. At the core of the Festival is the International Competition, with the highly coveted Golden Eye prize being awarded in each of the four categories.
  • freestyle.ch Zürich, 26-17 September 2015. The biggest freestyle sporting event in Europe. Each September, 50 top athletes come to the Landiwiese by Lake Zürich to demonstrate their skills in the disciplines, Snowboard, Freeski, Mountain Bike and Freestyle Motocross, and all with the aim of carrying off the title of freestyle.champ of the year. The daring tricks and jumps, coupled with the wide variety of ancillary events for both young and old, guarantee a weekend packed with action and excitement.
  • Christmas Markets. At the end of November begins the most contemplative time of the year, and with it, the season of Christmas markets. Locals and tourists alike gather, for example, at Zürich’s oldest Christmas market in the Niederdorf quarter or the festively adorned wooden market stalls on Sechselautenplatz in search of rare or unusual objects. The largest indoor Christmas market in Europe, located in the concourse of Zürich Main Station, has a 20-metre high Christmas tree laden with sparkling Swarovski crystals, while visitors to the Heiliger Bimbam markets in the city’s creative quarters can find all kinds of trendy items.
  • On the hotel front, the Kameha Grand Zürich – the sister hotel of the Kameha Grand Bonn – has just opened. The innovative design is the work of prize-winning Dutch interior designer, Marcel Wanders, who has been heralded by the New York Times as the “Lady Gaga of design”. His neo-Baroque, structural elements and colours feature in each of the 245 rooms.
  • Summer Festival “Aufsehen!” Many will remember the colourful cows, bears and giant flowerpots that in the last two decades have brought the streets of Zürich to life. This year, this artistic tradition is being continued with the spectacular open-air exhibition, “Aufsehen!”, held from 25 June until 6 September. Live paintings, artistic performances and video productions alter people’s angle of vision and open up new perspectives.

Written by Peter Needham

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