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Do you remember your last transatlantic trip? For me, it was a quick in/out visit to Switzerland for a work meeting in January. Flights between Europe and China were just about to get canceled because of some sort of virus somewhere in China and colleagues of mine looked at assisting travelers who were stuck in Switzerland. Not for a minute did I imagine that I, together with the rest of the world, would be stuck very soon, too. Traveling, both for business and pleasure, has been an intrinsic part of my lifestyle. At times, I have to admit, I have taken it somewhat for granted.
The last months certainly have changed all that. Sitting locked-up at home in my apartment, I often found myself scrolling through the photos of my travels and remembering the joy and excitement these trips brought me. All the while, making a list of places I will visit once travel is possible again. And top of the list for 2021 is the Blue Balls Festival in Lucerne. I heard so many great things about it and will make sure to be there next year.
Switzerland has a long-held reputation for being super safe, clean and well-organized. It, therefore, is a natural choice when looking at organizing a post-COVID-19 trip. In order to strengthen guests’ confidence in Switzerland, tourism industry associations have created a “Clean & Safe” label. When visiting tourism establishments and infrastructures, the label shows guests that the latter have made a conscious commitment to comply with protection plans. In addition, the information platform www.clean-and-safe.ch provides an overview of all industry-specific protection concepts.
Organizers of group trips and tour guides alike are facing some new challenges. I firmly believe that choosing Switzerland as your next destination will give you peace of mind as well as your guests the most memorable vacations.
Many guests are surprised when they see the wealth of historic castles and forts Switzerland has to offer. These monuments, some dating back to medieval times, bear witness to the rich history of our small country. Don’t miss including them in your itinerary and get swept away to times gone by.
But no visit to Switzerland is complete without sampling and stocking up on our delicious specialties. Our cheese and chocolates are world-renowned for a reason, and you can see for yourself how they get produced all over Switzerland. But when it comes to cookies, Kambly cannot be beaten. As they are not available in North America, check out the Kambly factory in the picturesque Emmental Region.
We can’t wait to welcome you to Switzerland.
Director, Americas, Switzerland Tourism
Situated in Central Europe, Switzerland borders France to the west, Germany to the north, Austria and the principality of Liechtenstein to the east and Italy to the south. Smaller than West Virginia, it measures 137 miles from north to south and 217 miles from east to west.
Weekly, there are more than 130 direct flights to Switzerland from North America. Airlines flying from North American cities to Zurich Airport include Swiss, Edelweiss, United, American, Delta and Air Canada. Zurich’s city center is just a 10-minute train ride from the state-of-the-art airport, which offers more than 160 shops, bars and restaurants. Smack in the heart of Europe, Zurich Airport is the gateway to the Alps.
Switzerland’s public transport network—safe, efficient and punctual—is one of the finest in the world. The Swiss Travel Pass provides unlimited travel on trains, buses, boats, urban transit systems and most scenic train routes. In addition, pass holders enjoy free entrance to more than 500 museums in Switzerland and are entitled to a 50 percent discount on most mountain excursions by cable car or cogwheel train.
Switzerland has four national languages: German, French, Italian and Romansch. German, the most dominant, is spoken by 64 percent of the population. English is widely spoken throughout the country.
The majority of people living in Switzerland are Christian. Approximately 38 percent are Roman Catholic, 27 percent Protestant (2017 figures). The number of people with no religious affiliation is 21 percent.
In July and August the daytime temperature range is 65 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 28 degrees Celsius); in spring and autumn 46° to 59°F (8° to 15°C). In January and February the range is 28° to 45°F (-2° to 7°C). There is no excessive heat and humidity in summer, so the air is always crisp. Summer is the main travel season with a share of 66 percent, but data over the last five years show that Switzerland is becoming increasingly important as a winter destination. Peak ski season is December to March.
Switzerland’s unit of currency is the Swiss franc (1:1 with the US dollar). Merchants may accept euros, but change most likely will be given back in Swiss francs. ATMs are commonly found, and credit cards are widely accepted. Banks are open Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Shops are generally open from 8.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. daily (Saturday until 4 p.m.); closed Sunday. Shops in small towns may close an hour or two for lunch.
Tips for restaurant wait staff are included in the price of the meal, but it’s common to round up to the nearest franc or round figure.
Most hotels and many bars, cafes and restaurants provide free Wi-Fi service.
Sign up for the eLearning program, Switzerland Travel Academy, and become a certified Switzerland travel expert in only three hours. You will get more leads and benefit from additional sales support.
Sign up at: northamerica.switzerlandtravelacademy.ch Also learn about Switzerland in bi-weekly webinars featuring Swiss partners who provide insights about specific destinations and products. And keep up-to-date on the latest news and offers through Switzerland Tourism’s bi-monthly newsletter.
Sign up for webinars and the newsletter at: MySwitzerland.com/trade. Switzerland Yodel – Sales companion for travel professionals can be downloaded at MySwitzerland.com/trade (Multimedia/Sales Manuals)
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