Switzerland Tourism welcomed a new director to Canada this week with a fitting gathering at an exclusive Swiss watch shop on Bloor Street in Toronto.
Pascal Prinz takes the reigns at a good time, with Canadian tourism to the European alpine nation flourishing: 2017 visitations were up 14 per cent in the May-September period over 2016, along with a nearly 12 per cent jump in overnights. And with a projected total of 245,000 Canadian visitors this year, 2017 is set to see its highest total since 2010. Perhaps surprisingly, Ontario makes up 38 per cent of Switzerland’s Canadian source market with Quebec following at 23 per cent.
However, with nearly two-thirds of Canadian visitors choosing to travel to Switzerland in the summer months, Swiss tourism execs are quick to tout the virtues of travelling there in the winter, not the least being the country’s great skiing and snow culture.
“We are such a wonderful winter destination,” said Switzerland Tourism deputy director Urs Eberhard, who urged the trade to check out the tourist board’s “Upgrade Your Winter” promotional campaign, which is detailed in an impressive 102-page booklet.
For his part, Prinz moves from Switzerland Tourism’s New York office, replacing the rotated Evelyn Lafone (Germany). Yet, he was quick to recount his Canadian roots, including learning to speak English here while making his first trip outside Europe, and subsequently returning many times for business. “Canada has a special place in my heart,” he said, adding that he already feels “a bit Canadian.”
Tourism to Switzerland is flourishing from Canada, but tourism execs are still keen to promote the winter season.