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Switzerland supports Indian tourism mart after posting record growth

Switzerland Tourism are the latest international group to commit their support to World Travel India, the international travel trade exhibition and conference scheduled for Mumbai in February `04….

Switzerland Tourism are the latest international group to commit their support to World Travel India, the international travel trade exhibition and conference scheduled for Mumbai in February `04. At a time when Indian tourism is one of the hottest topics in international travel trade, the organisers say it`s not surprising that we have generated so much interest.

Recent government statistics from New Delhi indicate that tourism generated $2.5 Billion in foreign exchange earnings in the year to date ending September, up 20% on last year. Inbound tourism grew by around 15% with 1.864m visitors, all positive signs that the sleeping tiger of south west Asia is truly on course for roaring tourism market.

Switzerland too has enjoyed substantial growth in the number of visitors from India with an estimated 153,000 room nights in the year up to August `03, an increase of 15% on previous years.

According to Richard Gayle, project manager of WTI, the growing Indian middle class is estimated at more than 300m people. They are increasingly adventurous in their travel plans and making more and more trips to far away places. Not just the stalwart destinations like Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia, but further a field to Europe and especially countries like Switzerland. Many Bollywood films have been set against the backdrop of Switzerland`s lush scenery, making it a favourite destination amongst Indians. The World Travel & Tourism Council rank India as one of the fastest growing tourism markets in the world with 4 million Indians traveling abroad each year.

Regi Wittwer, Switzerland Tourism`s marketing manager for India, said great efforts are also in place to promote the country as a destination through key accounts. We maintain a very good relationship with all major tour operators selling Switzerland

Indians travelling to Switzerland enjoy the splendid landscapes, it`s natural beauty, the greenery, the mountains where they can touch snow. Shopping in Switzerland`s cities is another beloved activity of Indian travellers.

It is well recognised that many cultures have their own culinary preferences and no where is this more true than with India. Boasting some of the finest cuisine in the world, India is also home to numerous religions and cultures that prescribe dietary guidelines, from vegetarian to vegan and beyond.

Many European operators have read this opportunity well and cater to the needs of their Indian guests by providing their own chefs in hotels. Ms Wittwer said the big operators who are organising escorted group tours most often have their own chefs in the hotels were they accommodate their groups in Switzerland. All holiday resorts and cities in Switzerland who are hosting guests from India do meanwhile have a selection of Indian Restaurants. In the city of Zurich for example there are ten Indian restaurants, Interlaken offers three.

Switzerland Tourism will be promoting a variety of travel and holiday options at WTI along with presenting their strategic alliance with Swiss International Air Lines. The carrier flies daily from Zurich to Mumbai.

Conference set to inform & challenge

A travel conference will run in parallel with the exhibition, staged in the same venue. Keynote speakers include the President of the International Hotels & Restaurant Association, Eric Pfeffer, the CEO of Qatar Airways, Mr Akbar Al Baker and Mr Ian Graham, the former director of business consulting for Deloitte Touche.

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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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