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CLEAN IS THE NEW SEXY: Switzerland emerges from COVID world

If clean is the new sexy, Switzerland is well positioned to counter some of the fears of post-coronavirus travel, says the country’s tourism director for Canada, Pascal Prinz, who took the opportunity of Swiss national day celebrations on Aug. 1 (the country was founded in 1291), to remind Canadians that they are officially welcome in the central European country again as COVID restrictions ease.

And with tentative travellers looking for safe destinations to travel to, Prinz points out, “Switzerland has a reputation to be clean,” adding that Canada and Switzerland make a good pairing as both are considered “among the safest in this COVID world.”

“Overall, the situation in Switzerland is really good,” he maintains. “We have gone through the crisis and government has handled it well and now the infrastructure is open again, so you can travel and experience the country.”

Nevertheless, Switzerland is keen to ensure that the virus doesn’t take hold again and has put a host of protocols in place designed to ensure the safety and security of residents and visitors alike, and that the latter can visit with confidence. Among them:

• Launched “Clean and Safe” assurance label for business
• COVID app for information and tracking
• Masks required on public transit and stores

Canadians have been able to travel to Switzerland since July 20, with Prinz noting that both Swiss (three times weekly between Montreal and Zurich) and Air Canada (Toronto and Montreal to Zurich and Geneva) are currently offering service to the country.

He also notes that Switzerland is a perfect gateway via train to other destinations in Europe and that Canadians are now able to travel freely through the Schengen zone.

Importantly, Prinz points out that Canadians are not required to quarantine upon arrival Switzerland.

Some of the current travel trends the Swiss office has identified include:

• Fewer but longer trips,
• Individual travel, groups “will have to wait”
• Soft adventure – hiking and biking
• Luxury

Switzerland Tourism is planning to launch a consumer marketing campaign in October (delayed from March) with an emphasis on Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver and including partners like Goway, Tours Chanteclerc and Lindt (chocolates).

“We feel we have a lot to say and we have some positive news to share,” says Prinz.

The director adds that the Canadian office is also committed to working with the travel trade.

“I will say this until you cannot hear it anymore, because I really, really mean it,” he says. “If you travel right now, you (should) go to a travel advisor or a tour operator because you want peace of mind, because they have the latest regulations, so we will continue to promote the travel trade because if we want to get out of this (pandemic-induced travel lull), the travel trade is the key to rebuild jobs and the travel industry.

“Obviously, this is a very difficult year, but we are going in the right direction… If this was a hike, we are already in the base camp one or two and we will not give up until we get to the summit. I am absolutely convinced about that!”

First published at Travel Industry Today

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