Pax Global Media
Canadians have a strong affinity for Switzerland, according to the latest travel figures.
The 2022 numbers recently released by the Swiss Federal Office of Statistics on March 9 show a recovery of 83 per cent in Canadian overnights in Switzerland, for a total of 227,658 nights. That is just slightly short of the country’s record-breaking results in 2019.
The strong recovery still signals a positive trend for 2023 as we enter the busy summer and fall travel season.
“The solid second half of the year from July through December, is a promising indicator forthe current year and beyond,” said Oliver Weibel, who recently joined Switzerland Tourism as director Canada. “The numbers vastly improved in the second half of the year after travel restrictions were dropped in April 2022.”
The overnight figures combined from the U.S. and Canada to Switzerland in January 2023 are 9.7 per cent higher compared to the same month in 2019, placing North America as the second-biggest market after Germany and the largest long-haul market for Switzerland Tourism.
Canada is a big and important part of that picture, a press release pointed out.
“North Americans love experiences in nature with the cultural dynamism that a destination like Switzerland offers in such close proximity. And with the resurgence of the popularity in train travel as a top five consumer need for sustainable travel experiences, Switzerland presents one of the most sustainable ways of seeing multiple destinations in one place,” said Weibel.
“One very positive trend that we are seeing is that Canadians have surpassed the 2019 overnight stays in October and November in Switzerland,” added Weibel, who sees this as a signal to further market the popularity of traveling to Switzerland in autumn.
Roadshow coming in May
In 2023, Switzerland Tourism will continue to strengthen its relationships with tour operators, travel advisors, and media contacts to deepen their knowledge of the country.
To help spread the word, a delegation of 17 Swiss partners will be travelling for the “STE Canada roadshow” to Montréal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver from May 29 to June 2, Weibel confirmed.
The tourism board says tour operators and travel advisors are still Canadians' primary booking source of overseas travel.
Especially in the luxury market, where Switzerland is a high priority, with most overnight stays in four, five-star accommodations, the tourism board said.
While Canadians have increased their length of stay slightly by 7.8 per cent to 2.3 nights, the figures indicate that guests flying into Switzerland are staying more than eight nights overall, which creates an opportunity for Switzerland Tourism to increase their share of overnight stays.
Half of all visitors from Canada travelled to Switzerland during the summer months from June to September in 2022.
The top destination for overnight stays remains the Zurich and Geneva areas with their international airports.
The highest increase in overnight stays within the mountain regions was seen in Interlaken and Grindelwald, with 25.2 per cent and 12.7 per cent increases respectively over 2019.
(Only overnights in Swiss hotels and Youth Hostels are counted. Vacation homes, other kinds of accommodation and visits with friends and family are not included in the data).
How to travel to Switzerland
SWISS International Airlines and Air Canada currently offer four, five-times weekly direct flights from Montreal and Toronto to Zurich and Geneva.
Edelweiss, a sister company of SWISS International Airlines, also has direct flights from Vancouver and Calgary (starting April, June respectively in 2023).
Switzerland campaign 2023
The upcoming Switzerland Tourism campaign will feature “The Grand Train Tour of Switzerland” to explore the highlights of Switzerland on one single tour by train.
This trip includes numerous sightseeing opportunities, gives visitors access to iconic spots for excursions along the route and leads them through the most beautiful parts of the country.
Available all year round, the route – spanning 1,280 kilometres – leads from some of the most charming Swiss cities to Alpine villages.
As well as UNESCO World Heritage sites, the route encompasses some of Switzerland’s most well-known sights and landmarks, from the majestic Matterhorn to Lucerne’s Chapel Bridge.
And as Switzerland is home to some of the most beautiful mountain landscapes, the route can also be combined with a variety of mountain excursions.
All travel suggestions for the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland can be booked as packages at GrandTrainTour.com.
Tailor-made tickets for all travel suggestions are also available for system partners. Tour operators and agents without system access can book the packages through Railtour Suisse and Switzerland Travel Center (STC) Travel Centre (STC) at special B2B conditions.
The entire Grand Train Tour of Switzerland is fully covered by the Swiss Travel Pass, the GA travelcard or any other Swiss train ticket (day pass, point-to-point tickets, etc.).
A seat reservation, subject to a surcharge, is required in order to travel on certain panoramic trains, such as the Glacier Express, Bernina Express and Gotthard Panorama Express.
Swiss Travel System tickets can be purchased at MySwitzerland.com/tickets.
Don't miss a single travel story: subscribe to PAX today! Click here to follow PAX on Facebook.