Everybody knows that Switzerland is a beautiful country that offers the best scenic and culinary experience. We also know that many James Bond movies were shot here; the world’s best watch manufacturers are based here; the world’s finest cheese and chocolates are made here. But what you may not be aware of is that you can actually live like a Swiss and not like a tourist whilst you are in Switzerland. This means you get to make your own cheese, chocolates and even watches. Rather than doling out mere visual and culinary delights of the country, Switzerland Tourism is now actively engaged in offering the ‘real experience’. Celebrating this heritage, Switzerland Tourism has dedicated year 2013 to the ‘Living Traditions’. This means the Indian traveller will live like a Swiss while he is in Switzerland.
Stephan Heuberger, director, Switzerland Tourism — India, says, “India is a key market for us. Both countries take pride of their rich heritage of culture and traditions. People here believe and follow their traditions. ‘Living Traditions’ is an endeavour to showcase our customs and way of life that reflects the true Switzerland. We are sure that Indian visitors will find it enthralling whilst they are experiencing our traditions and customs in our nature.”
He also added that besides offering just beautiful locations, the travel buffs will get to enjoy the story and life of the place. “For instance, we will offer tourists Heidi experience. The travellers will get to visit the houses up on the alms, eat goat cheese and will be taken to the green pastures where Heidi played with Peter and the goats,” he says.
This year, Switzerland Tourism is introducing over 100 activities to provide visitors an experience of the Swiss traditions. For instance, the tourist can find out how alpine cheese is made at the Chalet Lioson d’Enbas or have a go at playing an alphorn in Nendaz or be it admiring the beautifully adorned cows in Charmey, visitors will be able to experience some of the oldest Swiss traditions. “Since everybody outside Switzerland is curious about watch making, the Geneva Watch Tour will give them a chance to visit the centre of Geneva while discovering the watch industry through around a hundred boutiques and a dozen historical monuments linked to Geneva’s watchmaking history,” says Beatrice Dolder, Indian Market, Geneva Tourism & Conventions.
But isn’t New Zealand giving a tough competition to Switzerland? “It is,” says Heuberger. “But Switzerland as a country that offers diverselinguistic, culinary, architectural and musical traditions has its loyalists and tourism in Switzerland will never die.”
Ritu Sharma, deputy director, Switzerland Tourism — India, said they will continue to work closely with travel partners to promote the various offerings that they have proposed to the Indian outbound. “Through Living Traditions, we are giving people an opportunity to cherish the local life in Switzerland, and that’s going to be an enjoyable experience,” she says.