Pascal Prinz, Canada Director,
The land of chocolate, mountains and cervelat is once again welcoming Canadian travellers. As the destination takes the first steps in rebuilding its travel sector, Switzerland Tourism’s Canada Director Pascal Prinz says the trade will be a vital key in the rebound.
“I have been saying this many times and I will say it until you cannot hear it anymore because I really mean it. If I had $10,000 to invest, I would go to a bank and ask how I should do it. Why should consumers not do the same for travel?” he said during a webinar attended by Open Jaw yesterday.
“If you travel right now, you go to a travel advisor or a tour operator because you want peace of mind from someone who has the latest regulations. We will continue to promote the travel trade because if we want to get out of this, I am convinced the travel trade is the key to rebuilding jobs and our industry.”
Prinz noted VFR tourism is showing the strongest signs for travel to Switzerland.
“If clients have friends and family in Switzerland, this is a good time to go because you can organize a trip in a way that has a bit more reassurance,” he said. “If you need to extend your stay, you have a place to stay with friends and family. That is the immediate direct demand that I see.”
Noting additional trends, he said travellers are likely to take fewer, but longer trips in the foreseeable future. He also noted conscious travel, FIT, soft adventure and luxury have been important segments that Switzerland Tourism will continue to build.
It is almost easy to forget the current state of the global pandemic when imagining digging into a bowl of fondue in the Alps, but Prinz refrained from sugar-coating the realities of the ongoing situation.
“It is a fluid situation and it’s not easy. I’m not going to tell you everything is great. There are many advantages for Switzerland, but I’m also trying to be a realist and not give you the marketing pitch and say everything is great. But if you leave Canada, I think Switzerland is a very good choice,” he said.
Prinz also noted Switzerland’s solid record for being a clean and safe destination, as well as its quality infrastructure and hospital network. Switzerland ranked as the safest country in the world by Deep Knowledge Group, a Hong Kong investment firm, he noted.
Switzerland launched the Clean & Safe campaign for tourism service providers which outlines health and hygiene concepts aimed at protecting guests.
“This puts us in a good position,” Prinz said. “My request for you is to keep Switzerland top of mind during this time but also, hopefully post-COVID. It is a safe and clean country, and Canadians usually really have a great time and enjoy our country very much.”
Masks are mandatory on public transport throughout Switzerland, as well as grocery stores in certain cantons.
Prinz noted both Swiss Air Lines and Air Canada are operating flights between Canada and Geneva and Zurich.
“This is obviously a very difficult year but we are going in the right direction,” Prinz concluded.
Following European Union recommendations, Switzerland reopened its borders to Canada on 20JUL, which means Canadians can travel to the destination without undergoing a quarantine upon arrival. There is no mandatory testing upon arrival at this time, although passengers should expect a health screening from a border officer, as well as agree to temperature scans.
Anna Kroupina Journalist
Anna is OJ’s newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she’s new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry.