Switzerland Tourism deputy director speaks on reasons to visit Alpine nation

Ritu Sharma

Chennai: “For travelers who want to explore magnificent places in Switzerland, September is the right month to visit,” said deputy director of Switzerland Tourism, Ritu Sharma in an interaction with News Today. “Winter season is for the adventurous while autumn is for everyone,” she added.

Ritu said tourists from India visiting Switzerland has seen 9.8 per cent growth in January-December 2018 compared to same period in 2017. “But there were hurdles this year due to general elections in India. Every five years we see less number of tourists between April and May but it increases in June. Unfortunately last June, we didn’t see the expected number of tourists,” said Ritu. She also claims that the drop in tourists visiting the country is due to suspension of Jet Airways. “No other airline could immediately put in those extra seats,” Ritu explains. “So, fares went up in May-June all across the world, especially Europe.”

When asked about the best season to visit Switzerland, the deputy director said, “The best season is all season. Tourism is like a 360-degree destination. Every season has its own charm.” She also informed that mid-September and October is called as ‘Shoulder Season’, where people can get cheaper hotels and airfares.

According to a tourism ministry survey, the average amount spent by an Indian in Switzerland is 340 francs. “The number of nights spent by Indians at hotels in 2018 is 8,10,000 overnights in the country excluding tourists staying at A‌i‌r‌b‌n‌b‌ and apartments,” said Ritu. “Our target is to reach one million hotel overnight stays by 2020.” The deputy director also noted that Interlaken, Lucerne, and Zurich are among the top favourite destinations for Indians.

Speaking about the brand ambassador for Switzerland tourism, actor Ranveer Singh, Ritu said, “After we took him on board in 2016, tourists overnight stays increased from 23.7 per cent to 24 per cent in the following year. It also changed the perception of Switzerland as not just a romantic destination but also a place for adventure sports.” She further adds, “We tried everything from campaign to serial advertisements asking people to visit Switzerland and nothing worked. But once Ranveer got on board, we saw a sudden increase in number of tourists.” His popularity here is huge and in fact, there is a special train called “Ranveer Singh on Tour”, that passes through mountains and vineyards.

M Chitharth