With the summer season in full swing, Switzerland is riding the revenge travel wave to promote its other outdoor pursuits, a stark difference to the snow-capped mountains and winter sports it is already renowned for.
During a media gathering on June 8, 2022, Batiste Pilet, Switzerland Tourism’s director for South-east Asia, shared: “Visiting in the summer is very different from winter – travellers will have a totally different experience. This is why I think Switzerland has a very strong positioning as a leisure destination that can appeal to different target groups, because in South-east Asia, there are no seasons.”
Within South-east Asia, the top two inbound markets to Switzerland in 2019 were Thailand and Singapore, while Malaysia and Indonesia posted similar number of arrivals.
Some of Switzerland’s summer activities, Pilet elaborated, includes hiking along 65,000km of marked routes, mountain biking, canyoning, ziplining, climbing via ferrata, and doing yoga on the edge of a glacier with a mountain view.
All these activities also tie in to the wellness phenomenon that has emerged from the pandemic, as people have come to realise the many mental and physical benefits of spending time in the great outdoors.
“With a reasonable level of fitness, most travellers will be able to do some form of outdoor sports in Switzerland; which is probably the best way to get close to nature,” he added.
In conjunction with the promotion of summer activities, Switzerland Tourism also aims to increase women participation in both outdoor and mountain sports, as well as support women-driven tourism businesses and guides in the country, through its 100% Women initiative.
This year, the 100% Women initiative will comprise a rope team of around 80 women scaling Allalinhorn, a 4,000m-high peak in Valais from June 15 to 17. The participants – appointed ambassadors, media representatives, and celebrities – hail from different countries, and are of different ages with varying backgrounds. With sustainability high on Switzerland Tourism’s agenda, the whole event will also be carbon neutral.
Pilet shared: “We notice that more women are travelling, some of whom are solo travellers, and we are learning to take female travellers’ preferences more into consideration. We also have created a dedicated site with travel offers specifically for women.”
About the current recovery status of leisure tourism, Pilet revealed that it has been rather “speedy”, with 2022 standing at more than half of 2019 levels. According to estimations, Pilet is optimistic, and expects that a full recovery to 2019 levels will be achieved in 2023.