Swiss-bound travel from India slows down

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Once a preferred destination, the country is aggressively marketing itself in India, China

Swiss-bound travel from India slows down
Switzerland, which has been fast emerging as the choicest destination for Indian travellers, saw arrivals slowing down in 2012, thanks to a weaker and more volatile rupee.

Arrivals from India have been growing at a rate of over 20 per cent in the past few years, except for 2008. In 2010, it had grown by 23 per cent and in 2011 by 21 per cent. However, in 2012, it slipped to six per cent, said Ritu Sharma, deputy director-India, Switzerland Tourism.

“In 2012, Indians accounted for 700,000 overnight stays in Switzerland. This is just six per cent growth over the previous year. The rupee got weaker against US dollar in 2012 and there was a presumption in the market that travel will get costlier in rupee terms. However, the Swiss Franc had been rather stable in 2012,” she said.

Even in 2008, when travel was affected by severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), the growth was slightly higher at eight per cent.

Travel to whole of Europe remained flat last year. It has been growing at 10 to 12 per cent in the previous years, she said.

In the face of Euro zone crisis and lesser number of arrivals from other parts of Europe, Switzerland has been aggressively marketing itself in the emerging markets like India and China and the Gulf region.

India, which used to account for 1.9 per cent arrivals in 2005, has bettered its share to three per cent. However, Chinese arrivals have been growing faster.

According to Sharma, the MICE segment grew around 25 per cent last year, though slower than 40 per cent in the previous years. Of the arrivals, 90 per cent are leisure travellers.

“We have been seeing a good growth in the number of individual travellers, accounting for 50 per cent of the total number of travellers. Five to ten years back, group travellers were around 80 per cent. Indians, in almost all age groups, are taking up adventure sports and the number of retired people travelling to Switzerland for holidays are also going up,” said Sharma.

sangeethag@mydigitalfc.com

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