To reach out to the prospective customers, Switzerland Tourism is conducting road shows all across India. Beginning Chandigarh the road shows will be held in Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore and Mumbai this year with 12 tourism partners ranging from Swiss cities and regions to mountain excursions and the travel system. Michael Maeder, managing director, Switzerland Tourism India told FE, We are looking at promoting Switzerland as a destination in smaller cities now. India has been placed amongst the top-four growth markets for Switzerland tourism besides Russia, China and the gulf countries. Moreover, tourism from Japan has declined over the years and it remains an important but no more a growth market for us. While we are expanding our reach in India we are also looking at opening new offices in Brazil and Poland in 2012.
Understanding the importance of the tier II and III cities in India, Switzerland tourism plans to undertake specific sales tours to train the travel agents to be able to sell Switzerland more confidently. Switzerland Tourism is also set to launch a brand new e-learning module to help further the cause. The launch is expected in the first half of this year. Another area where Switzerland plans to invest for tourism promotion in India is daily soap operas. So far Yash Chopra has been promoting Switzerland as a destination in his films, now we are thinking of roping in television producers to promote the country through daily soap operas. Talks are on with a few but nothing has materialised yet, said Maeder.
Sharing the growth figures, Maeder said, Switzerland tourism in India achieved 24.8% growth in 2010 in overnights resulting in a total of 4,00,000 overnights spent by Indians in Switzerland. Out of this about 40% tourists come from northern India, another 40% from West and 20% from South. India has also emerged in the top 12 source markets. In 2011, we expect a growth of 25% in overnights spent by Indians in Switzerland going up to 5,00,000 in number. A growth of 40% is further expected in MICE tourism this year.