Swiss tourism authorities are expecting great things next year - and it isn’t just the launch of its new Grand Tour of Switzerland (though it has a lot to do with it).
Among the country’s most exciting developments, says Switzerland Tourism Australia and NZ director Mark Wettstein, are winter sports initiatives, such as a three-day ski course which guarantees to have participants skiing/snowboarding on blue (‘more difficult’) runs by the third day, and a one-day ski experience that comprises a full-day lift pass, gear hire, and lesson (plus more), all for $200.
Then there’s the dazzling new Burgenstock Resort (not to be confused with the footwear) above Lake Lucerne, which will open mid-next year, as well as the launch of the 57km Gotthard Base Tunnel, which will open next month and facilitate easier rail travel around the country.
But it is the new Grand Tour of Switzerland, a 1,600km road trip that really stands out, taking in “probably the most scenic route in the Alps” – along five Alpine passes and 22 lakes, as well as numerous UNESCO World Heritage properties.
Running alongside this will be the E-Grand Tour, which Wettstein says will be the world’s first road trip for electric vehicles, with charging stations placed along the entire route.
With these initiatives in mind, Mr Wettstein told Traveltalk in Melbourne that he was expecting a return to growth from the Australian market next year after a relatively flat 2016.
Following a recent announcement by SWISS that it would be increasing codeshare capacity out of Australia, Wettstein also said he expected more travellers to fly directly into Zurich, and use the Swiss city as a European base.
Watch this space, or better yet, fly there and see it for yourself.