The Swiss region of Graubunden, is aiming to attract record numbers of GCC visitors this summer, with a focus on the great outdoors, health and wellness for the whole family.
Graubunden’s summer campaign highlights a range of summer breaks targeting GCC travellers wanting to enjoy a more relaxed and healthier, family orientated vacation. Visitors will be able to experience outstanding natural beauty, thermal spas and outdoor pursuits, in a mild climate, offering a welcome break from the intense summer heat in many parts of the GCC region.
In addition, there is a wide range of hotels and serviced apartments, Michelin starred restaurants and immersive cultural experiences, making it the perfect destination for GCC families this summer.
“After the restrictions brought on by the pandemic, visitors from the GCC are returning in large numbers once again and we are anticipating a significant increase in demand this summer,” said Head of Business Development at Visit Graubunden, Tamara Loeffel.
“Graubunden is famed for some of the very best health and wellbeing experiences anywhere in the world and what’s more, Graubunden is also very familiar with Arabic culture - many of its 170 restaurants offer halal menu options and most hotels also have Arabic speaking staff,” added Loeffel.
The largest source markets from the GCC, are the UAE and Saudi Arabia, each accounting for a 35% share, Kuwait and Qatar contribute approximately 12% each, with visitors from Bahrain and Oman, making up the remaining 6%.
According to the latest figures released by Switzerland Tourism, UAE residents staying overnight in Switzerland have already surpassed pre-pandemic levels. Comparing figures between July to December 2021 with the same period in 2019, the number of bed-nights recorded, increased 20.8% from 188,384 to 227,482.
The number of UAE arrivals also grew from 75,084 to 85,632, during the same period, 2019 versus 2021. Moreover, a recent survey conducted by YouGov, highlighted Switzerland as the top ranked overseas destination for UAE residents.
“In the years prior to the pandemic, GCC tourists were typically responsible for approximately one million overnight stays per annum in Switzerland, with daily expenditure of around $466 each per day. According to Statista a German company specialising in market and consumer data, the GCC accounted for 9% of all arrivals in 2021.
“Furthermore, the Swiss federal government has announced that visitors from the GCC are no longer required to provide an entry form, vaccine certificate, or negative PCR test. Social restrictions have also been eased in Switzerland, masks and COVID certificates are not needed when entering hotels, restaurants or shops.
“This summer in particular, the fresh air, outstanding natural beauty, mild climate and healthy outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, and sailing make Graubunden, an ideal location for families wanting to get away from it all,” said Loeffel.
Making up 17.2 % of Switzerland’s total land area, Graubunden is the largest and the most sparsely populated region, with only just over 200,000 inhabitants – Switzerland has a population of 8.6 million.
The Graubunden region is world-renowned for its natural spas, spectacular landscape, bright green valleys, snow-capped peaks and crystal-clear Alpine lakes. Train rides through the mountains in the Rhine gorge, are considered amongst the most spectacular train journeys in the world. It is even possible to visit four different countries in one day – Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria and Italy.
Quite apart from the glamourous resorts such as St. Moritz and Davos, there are many other destinations worth exploring such as Vals, home to thermal baths that are built from 300-million-year-old stone and the countryside around Flims and Laax which is famous for its crystal-clear lakes. And for children who love stories, the small town of Maienfeld is where the classic children’s novel Heidi was set.
“There are many options for GCC residents when travelling to Switzerland. Swiss airlines flies to seven destinations in the GCC including Dubai, Riyadh, Muscat, Bahrain and Kuwait. In addition, Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad fly up to 38 times per week to Zurich and Milan and there are excellent transport links via road or rail from Geneva and Munich as well,” said Loeffel. – TradeArabia News Service