06 DEC 2018: Canadian visitations to Switzerland increased 10 percent during the summer year over year and there’s no let-up in sight, say Swiss tourism officials. “[Interest] is just going upwards,” Switzerland Tourism EVP Markets Urs Eberhard told a Canadian trade audience in Toronto Dec. 3. “It’s an incredibly consistent market.”

Ontario is the top source region in Canada for Switzerland (37%), said Eberhard, followed by Quebec (32%), BC (16%) and the Prairies (13%).

Switzerland Tourism Canada fittingly hosted the event in the Christmas-bedecked Distillery District and welcomed Swiss partners from the Lake Geneva & Matterhorn region, along with Eberhard, who credited Canadians’ interest in his country to its many widespread attributes, coupled with significant and convenient airlift, including Swiss, Air Canada and Air Transat.

Switzerland has taken advantage of the latter to offer a stopover program that allows passengers travelling on Swiss via Zurich to stay in the country for two to five nights without incurring additional air costs. Eight options can be found at www.stopover-switzerland.com  

And whether stopping over or staying on, visitors will find a wealth of beauty and diversity, all in a complete, compact package, says Eberhard. “You can touch a palm tree and touch a glacier in 60 minutes,” he says, adding, “You cannot take a bad picture in Switzerland, it’s very Instagrammable.”

Moreover, Switzerland “is not just about being outside and active,” he continued. “It’s body and soul.”

For example, visitors can take a yoga class on top of a mountain, of which he exclaims, “You cannot have a better experience. It charges your batteries for the next two years.”

And lest one forget, “Switzerland has the best chocolate,” he says.

The central European nation also has renowned wines, which were served to guests at the event and feted by Swiss tourism’s Canadian director Pascal Prinz.

“We have the best food and wines,” enthused François Michel, VP for the Lake Geneva Region, who added that there is no better time for visitors to discover that than during next year’s Fête des Vignerons, or Winegrowers Festival (July 10-Aug. 11). The UNESCO-recognized “once a generation event” has been celebrated since the 18th century and features 20 events with thousands of singers, dancers and performers in a tribute to the region’s winegrowers and winegrowing culture

Celebrated only every 20 to 25 years, the event offers ticket packages (available through March 31, 2019) with prices ranging from $104 to $394 and including a ticket for the show, one night’s accommodation, a Montreux Riviera Card – which offers free use of the public transport – as well as a whole host of discounts on activities in the region and cancellation/postponement insurance.


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