Immerse Your Clients in Switzerland
Unique, easily accessible opportunities throughout Switzerland will help your clients feel like a local as they explore incredible mountains, lakes, vineyards and beyond.
swiss-image.ch/Gian Marco Castelberg & Maurice Haas
swiss-image.ch/Gian Marco Castelberg & Maurice Haas
Making the Mountain Your Home
Want to immerse your active clients in Switzerland’s famed mountains? There’s perhaps no better suggestion than to visit the Turtmann Hut, which sits at the end of the pristine Turtmann Valley in the heart of the Valais Alps and is operated by Magdalena and Fredy Tscherrig, who have played host to passing hikers and mountaineers for the last 23 years.
Built in 1928, the Turtmann Hut undergoes regular renovation and was expanded in 2000, and now has 74 beds. It offers magnificent views of the Turtmann Glacier and surrounding mountains, including Bishorn, Barrwand and the Diablon massif. When visitors arrive, the Tscherrigs are ready to welcome them with a cold beer or a glass of white wine. Then there’s the Black Forest gateau—the specialty of the house, which is not to be missed.
“What you do is hike up to this hut where you’re served a hot meal, and then usually you continue on the next day,” explains Mirko Capodanno, Manager Western U.S.A. for Switzerland Tourism. “You can’t immerse yourself more in the Swiss Alps than through an experience like that.”
Capodanno also recommends pairing a night at the hut with an overnight at a more upscale hotel for two different takes on Swiss mountain immersion. “It blends a rural, down-to-earth experience with a more luxury experience, where you can treat yourself to the spa and a nice dinner.”
Pre- and Post-River Cruise Stays
As river cruising becomes ever more popular in Switzerland, travelers who don’t plan a pre- or post-cruise stay are missing out. Many itineraries start or end in Basel, a sometimes-overlooked gem with a marvelous Old Town area and enticing markets. Other opportunities—all easily accessible in a short amount of time—include an overnight stay in the mountains of Interlaken or the Jungfrau region, a visit to the UNESCO-recognized city of Bern or a short stay in Lucerne to enjoy the lake and mountain excursions. For those seeking greater immersion, Capodanno has another suggestion: “I would encourage a night or two in Lucerne to explore the mountains before hopping on the Gotthard Panorama Express, which includes a boat ride across Lake Lucerne before a panoramic train takes you over the Alps into Ticino, the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland.”
SWISS TRAVEL PASS
No matter where your clients want to go—or how many destinations they want to visit—it’s easy to immerse them in all of Switzerland’s wonders with the all-in-one Swiss Travel Pass. “It’s a single ticket for the whole country,” says Capodanno of the pass, which offers unlimited travel by train, bus and boat. Other benefits include free admission to more than 500 museums, included and discounted mountain excursions, 15 percent discount for travelers up to 26 years old, free travel for children under 16 and more.
Wine Travel in Lake Geneva
Send wine-loving clients to the sunny winegrowing village of Saint-Saphorin, which lies on the shore of Lake Geneva and is nestled among the terraced vineyards of Lavaux, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Switzerland’s largest contiguous vineyard area. “Lavaux has an 800-year-old history of using every square inch possible to create terraces to grow grapes on,” explains Capodanno. It’s an incredible and unique experience that no wine-lover will want to miss.
From there, travelers can continue into the Valais area, where they’ll find wines that aren’t produced in any other part of the world. Capodanno points out that the country hardly exports any of their wines, “so you have to come to Switzerland to try them.”
And what better pairing is there for wine than cheese? Valais is the traditional home of Raclette, which travelers can try in various forms at restaurants that specialize in dishes and tastings of the popular cheese. What’s more, harvest and cheese festivals take place in the fall, which Capodanno says is “the best time of year for people interested in food and wine in Switzerland.”
Other ways to explore the region’s incredible wine culture include the “Train des Vignes” from Vevey, which in just 12 minutes takes visitors through lush green vineyards up to Puidoux-Chexbres, where they can taste wine at almost every cellar. Immersion-seeking travelers can even visit an estate to assist a winemaker in the vineyard or cellar for a few hours, before enjoying tastings.
RECOMMENDED TOUR OPERATORS
Looking for tour operators that will immerse your clients in Switzerland? At the 2019 Switzerland Travel Mart, three North American tour operators were awarded the coveted Gold Flower Award: TAUCK and EuroBound from the United States and Goway from Canada. Other recommended operators include Avanti Destinations, Tauck, Europe Express, Globus and Insight Vacations. For clients interested in hiking tours, Capodanno recommends Alpenwild, which specializes in Switzerland itineraries.
Contact Switzerland Tourism
Travel advisors can find all the necessary resources to sell Switzerland by visiting Switzerland Tourism’s Trade Corner at MySwitzerland.com/Trade. Switzerland Tourism—which was named Virtuoso’s 2019 Tourism Board of the Year—offers advisors invaluable tools such as the Switzerland Travel Academy online education program, bi-weekly webinars, a bi-monthly newsletter, detailed information on the Swiss Travel System, brochures, sales manuals, offers, sample itineraries, a list of all tour operators selling great Switzerland tours and much more.
For more assistance, travel professionals can call 1-800-794-7795 (from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern) or email [email protected]. To contact Mirko Capodanno, Manager Western U.S.A., call 415-738-6033 extension 2, or email [email protected].