Why do Indians travel in summer

TOURISM: This is how Indians spend their holidays in Switzerland

TOURISM: This is how Indians spend their holidays in Switzerland

More and more Indian tourists are visiting Switzerland. These include increasingly young audiences who are attracted by social media. Summer is the main travel season for guests from the subcontinent, while winter still has a lot of potential.

Andreas Lorenz-Meyer

Last year Switzerland Tourism started an advertising campaign with the Indian Ranveer Singh. Hardly anyone in this country knows him, but in his home country he is a film star with millions of Twitter followers and Instagram fans. They saw their idol on social networks, for example on a catamaran on Lake Lucerne. This is how young Indians are to be attracted - and that apparently worked. From January to November 2017, Switzerland counted 716,539 overnight stays by Indian guests - plus 23.75 percent compared to the previous year. India is thus the number 8 foreign market. China is the larger Asian market with over one million overnight stays, but it "only" achieved growth of 12.16 percent.

"India is one of the world's fastest growing travel nations," says André Aschwanden, spokesman for Switzerland Tourism. Trips abroad are growing there by 8 percent annually. Reasons are the strong economy and a growing middle class that can afford travel. Switzerland Tourism estimates that growth for Switzerland will level off at between 5 and 8 percent per year over the next four years. "We expect over 900,000 overnight stays by Indian guests annually by 2021," says Aschwanden. Including more and more individual travelers, which is mainly due to the under 35-year-olds with growing incomes. The journey for them is easy. There are daily direct flights from Mumbai or Delhi to Zurich. So far it has been the case that 72 percent of Indians arrive in the summer, but the summer destination Switzerland is to become a year-round destination. Ranveer Singh is now promoting the winter accordingly. You can see him, for example, with a cricket bat in front of a snow backdrop of St.

Bernese Oberland as a backdrop for Bollywood strips

Traditionally popular Swiss destinations are Engelberg and Interlaken. In 2006, Interlaken hosted 30,000 Indian guests, and in 2017 it had more than 80,000, including 5,000 in hostels. The location owes its attractiveness to the Bollywood filmmaker Yash Chopra, who shot several times in the Bernese Oberland. “This is one of the reasons why Interlaken is a dream destination for many Indians,” says Andrea Schneider, Vice Director of Interlaken Tourism. She regularly travels to India to advertise the Oberland landscape. “Indians love mountains and lakes,” says Schneider. The most important excursion destinations are the Jungfraujoch and the Schilthorn. Many Indians have never had snow in their hands in their lives. The more they celebrate the moment. Water is also an attraction. The turquoise Lake Brienz is particularly popular with the Indians.

Adventure activities such as paragliding are also very popular. There is only reluctance to take part in water activities, as many Indians cannot swim. Economic growth brings new social classes to the Bernese Oberland. “While only the top layer came to us 20 years ago, today there are many who work in IT or in the service sector,” says Schneider. If you want to adjust to the guests, you can do so in the intercultural workshops of Interlaken Tourismus. There, hoteliers, organizers and taxi drivers learn what is important. Indians appreciate friendly greetings and small talk about family. They are not so good at handling the word no. Schneider: "If you use an alternative formulation, you will achieve your goal much faster."

While Interlaken has long been an attraction, Zurich is one of the newer focus destinations for Indians. From January to November there were almost 205,000 overnight stays - an increase of 31.2 percent compared to the previous year. “India is one of our most important markets,” says Ueli Heer from Zurich Tourism. There is regular exchange with Indian travel providers. It is also about business tourism. Indian companies are increasingly choosing Zurich as a venue. "You combine business with pleasure and start trips to the Rhine Falls or the Titlis from Zurich."

Lucerne recorded 68,800 overnight stays by Indians between January and November. An increase of 21.3 percent compared to the previous year. Ranveer Singh, who was twice in Central Switzerland when he was attending his doctorate, made a large contribution to the growth. "The reporting figures for his visit are very impressive," says Lucerne Tourism Director Marcel Perren. There were 733 articles online with 1.1 billion contacts in India. And on TV you saw 39 clips with 1.7 billion contacts. The combination of city, lake and mountains in the smallest of spaces is appreciated. Perren has a positive assessment of the future market potential: "We expect double-digit growth rates again for 2018."

Indian food is a must

Snow, tobogganing, clean lakes - Indians come to Switzerland to experience the unknown. The only thing they do not like to do without the kitchen at home. Visits to an Indian restaurant in the holiday destination are therefore always popular. Tour operators would do well to include such stops in the program. Otherwise there can be a low mood. If Indians do not get Indian food for more than two days, they will be unhappy. This is what it says in the brochure “Indians in Switzerland”, jointly published by Switzerland Tourism and Hotelleriesuisse.

Second boom market

From January to November there were 435,000 overnight stays from South Korea - an increase of 34.5 percent. Because of the upcoming winter games in Pyeongchang, more and more South Koreans are enthusiastic about the winter. Switzerland Tourism tries to use this with the “Swiss Friend”. The TV entertainer Hong-Chul Ro was out and about in the Swiss snow and was photographed sledding and après-ski. The pictures were scattered on social networks. (alm)