Handicap and travel

post by : Caroline Blanc

This TIA blog post is based on the article “Handicap et Voyage” by “Observatoire Valaisan du Tourisme”. According to the World Health Organization, there are one billion people with reduced mobility. That represents a big part of the world population and therefore the tourism sector has to take it into account. There are norms that are defined for places to be suitable for wheelchairs such as access, rooms or bathrooms. Switzerland is definitely one of the most accessible country to welcome people with reduced mobility. For example, you can call for assistance to go up or down the trains and buses. Activities are also proposed in Verbier where they offer special equipment to go skiing. All over the world, the most accessible places are the cities. For instance, Seattle has developed a map where you can find all the most easily accessible routes through the city. There are travel agencies and online travel guides specialized for disabled people.


MICE market in Switzerland

post by : justine.bonvalla

What is MICE tourism?

MICE market or; Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions/Events “refers to a specialized niche of group tourism dedicated to planning, booking, and facilitating conferences, seminars, and other events, which is a big money-maker in the travel industry”.

MICE tourism in Switzerland

Switzerland has a very good reputation as a destination country for MICE and especially in the meetings sector individual business events that companies organise for their own staff and/or business partners.

In 2015, MICE tourism generated CHF 1.8 billion.

A guest who stays in Switzerland for MICE generates an average of CHF 333 per day; this is more than a leisure tourist.

Meetings - “general term to indicate the number of people in one place, to confer or carry out a particular activity.”

With 6.3 million overnights, the meetings industry accounts for 17.7% of Swiss hotel overnights.

The main meetings locations are in Basel, Zürich, Lucerne and Bern.

Incentives - “typically given to employees as a reward. It is a non-business vacation with the aim of continued motivation for performance.”

According to Miss Bettina Mumenthaler, the UK & Ireland Manager at the Switzerland Convention & Incentive Bureau London Office, in general big incentives are coming from Asia; especially from China and India. There are some from Europe of course, but they are smaller.

Switzerland was just recently rated as one of the host list incentive destination for 2020 by the Global DMC Partners which means that there will be an arise of UK companies that come to Switzerland for small incentives.

A few months ago, Switzerland welcomed its biggest tourist group ever for an incentive. They were 12,000 Chinese people coming together which required a huge and efficient organisation. They were expected to spend about CHF 14 million during their stay. For a matter of availability, they had to be split between 3 different cities.

Conferences - “participatory meeting designed for discussion, fact-finding, problem solving and consultation”.

Switzerland has a lot of international conferences which means that it draws many tourists from all over the world. For example, recently, Lausanne hosted the 11th World Conference of Science Journalists. There were more than 60 different nationalities and more than 1000 journalists and Scientifics in communication.

Events/Exhibitions - “products or services are displayed and are the primary focus of the event.”

According to “myswitzerland.com”, there are about 17,319 events in Switzerland.


Finally, thanks to its tolerance and neutrality, Switzerland has attracted hundreds of international organisations.

MICE is an important support for the tourism low season. That is why it is very important for us to keep promoting it as much as we can.



Unusual accomodation in Switzerland

post by : caroline.blanc1

Who has ever dreamed of spending a night under the starry sky ? Being able to see the stars with a see-through ceiling over your head or sleeping just right in front of one of the highest summits in Europe, doesn’t that sound appealing ?

It is a trend going on for a few years now driving more and more places lucky enough to have the perfect environment to offer unique experiences by building accommodations exploiting the nice setting they are given.


An unusual accommodation can be defined as a place where you can stay and that provides you an unique and out of the ordinary experience regarding its location or the service it offers.


You can have a range of experiences in different places like mountains, near the sea, in the nature, in the air and so on. It is more like an adventure than if you just spend a night in an ordinary hotel. 

People using that kind of accommodations are mostly seeking for a new experience involving nice scenery, tranquility, originality and uniqueness. Even though the price is quite high, people choose to not take it into consideration focusing more on the experience than money. Most of the tourists are staying only for one night or the weekend. The clients are mostly couples (57%) and groups of friends (23%).



The market in Switzerland is still growing and not as evolved as in other countries like France, where unusual accommodations are easy to find.

A lot of places in Valais are offering those kind of experiences, mostly because the landscape and the scenery are a big selling point and attract a lot of people.


For instance Iglu Dorf in Zermatt, where you not only sleep in it but also have to construct it.

The Chetzeron in Crans-Montana located at 2112 meters in the mountains boasting its incredible view over the Alps or the Gornergrat in Zermatt built just right in front of the Matterhorn are also well-known examples included in what Valais has to offer in terms of unusual places to stay.


Since many chalets can be found in the mountains of Valais, locals are restoring theirs and turning them into accommodations for tourists. As we can see in the small village of La Forclaz, where they restored six agricultural chalets and named it “Anako Lodge”.


Moreover, the canton of Valais shares a tiny piece of Lake Geneva and this is interesting because over there are various offers such as spending a night on a boat floating on the lake. 

Comparison with France


Started about fifteen years ago, the business of unusual accommodations appeared in France quite early compared to some of her peers. The french market is mostly focused on treehouses, allowing several booking websites specialized in that kind of service to be created. The main purpose of this new service was to provide a place away from the city, where its guests could rest quietly and connect with nature.

In France, the unusual accommodation market covers 6.5% of the total turnover of the hotel business in 2016. (2.5 billion euros). For 2020, they expect an increase of 20% per year. 


While in France various experiences are offered such as spending a night surrounded by animals in a zoo or in the middle of a forest in their many treehouses, Switzerland still has room for improvements. The market here is mostly concentrated on places set in the mountains, bringing landscapes to the front scene. But Switzerland is not limited by mountains and breathtaking views, therefore she has many ways of expanding her offer. Restoring more chalets or huts to provide an unique experience to live like a local back in the day or combining the swiss wildlife with tourism by offering experiences with animals outdoors or even in a farm are some ideas to explore.

Nonetheless, Swiss tourism is already thriving regarding its success in the ski resorts field and by operating many sightseeing spots, attracting every year plenty of tourists from all around the world.


Cohabitation between inhabitants and tourists in Lucerne

post by : kim.verly

Around 25,000 tourists visit Lucerne every day and there are 81,600 inhabitants (in 2017). The majority of tourists doesn’t stay overnight. There are not as many tourists as in other places in Europe, but it seems to be too much for a part of the population. The main problem for the inhabitants is tourists travelling in groups and being all at the same place, at the same time because of that the inhabitants cannot walk peacefully in the city. One other problem is the rubbish management, tourists are not always respectful and put their rubbish everywhere. However, local merchants appreciate tourists because they need them to make a better profit.


One of the solutions to mass tourism in Lucerne would be to introduce a tax for all buses stopping in the city centre. This would reduce nuisances and help with infrastructure costs. Another thing would be to build an underground bus parking lot outside of the city, linked to the centre by a metro. This would help contain this influx of vehicles outside of the centre. Furthermore, an additional solution would be to involve the city’s inhabitants into the tourist offer. For example, these people could be able to advise tourists about unknown places that deserve to be visited.

Another idea would be to open an information place for the inhabitants, like the Evreux’s tourist office (France) did. This place includes display screens announcing upcoming events; a map of the region; a relaxation area and a shop selling local products. This would improve the inhabitants to visit a tourist office and encourage them to highlight the tourist’s side of their city.
Currently unknown, solidarity tourism could be another solution. This refers to trips organized for the purpose of exchange between tourists and the local populations, allowing populations to benefit from the resources generated by tourism. Concretely, this represents a short stay with the locals or an immersion in an unexplored ethnic group.

Competitive advantage

In France, the City of Paris has decided in 2017 to ban tourist coaches from travelling on certain streets of the city to deal with mass tourism and reduce traffic. For example, this is the case for the Latin Quarter and the Quai des Orfèvres. The municipality also wishes to create parking spaces outside the city. It also encourages travel agencies and tour operators to choose small vehicles. In addition to mass tourism, the city hopes that these changes will reduce pollution levels which are also a big problem in the capital.
In addition, the city has decided to limit housing to a few weeks per year and imposes taxes on landlords, to fight against housing saturation and prevent its inhabitants from finding more housing at decent prices.

Short explanation of the possible general application to tourism

In general, some cities may be the victims of their own success due to an excessive influx of people wanting to visit them. The main solution to this is to attract tourist groups outside the city centre. 

The most harmonious method remains a cohabitation between these tourists and the local population: on the one hand, by involving the inhabitants more in the tourist offer, and on the other hand, by including the travellers into the local economy. However, care must be taken to ensure that these measures are not too extreme and do not scare tourists away by discouraging them from travelling.


The opportunities and risks of tourism in the Swiss
mid-altitude mountain areas.

post by : yasmine.burnet

Usually, a place is considered touristic based on the principle of the market economy of this region, which gives an idea of the long-term viability of economic activities. It should be as far as possible respective of both the natural and socio-cultural environment.


In Gruyere region, three levels of governments shape tourism policy.

  • The federal level exists a Swiss concept of tourism,
  • The level of the canton that concerns the legislation of the promotion and operation of the tourism sector and finally
  • The region itself that manages the planning, development and installation of tourist facilities as an association that has the advantage of ensuring more direct and more democratic approach to tourism development.


Between 1960-1990, regional tourism was one of the factors, which contributed to the development of the Gruyere region, however those results cannot be generalised to every mid-altitude mountain area of CH.


The Gruyere region has the chance to be well-known worldwide, however, the region nowadays, id going thought important changes which makes some people say that ‘’the region is close the beginning of second generation of economy> some other say < it will become one of the favourite destination of European tourists>


To analyse that, a state of paly has to be done first, then the chances and risks could be discuss.


The state of play:

  • The duration of the season: winter, because of the global warming, is getting less and less important which create an imbalance between the alps and the mid-alps where the snow is usually less important. It leads to a lack of profit in the cable way installation (Moléeon or Charmey)
  •  The short-stay tourist VS the long term: the short ones tend to take over the long ones which creates ‘cold beds’ for some hotels, quite a lot of people like to come for a day and then leave.


The development of highway brought closer some place like Zermatt, Davos, and St-Moritz and so on to the flatland, which reduced to amount of tourist in the pre-Alps region. With all those complex elements, the mid-altitude mountain areas should work together. By coordinating divers intervention such as environmental and socio-cultural events, the management of touristic activities and the modernization of the infrastructures and superstructure.



Gruyere posses many strengths such as, the fact that it’s worldwide known related to the cheese and the city of Gruyere which the castle is one of the most visited attraction of Switzerland, the central geographic situation, the accessibility, the professionalism of the people working in the restaurants or hotels, the culture, and of course the landscape which is still pretty intact. Tourists are more and more looking for authenticity and Gruyere cross all those criteria. And so on…



They have indeed to look up for there own problems as well, their internal problems.


To sum up, those region have a huge and very strong force with their particular risks but by working together and promote each other, they could indeed getting stronger and more stable.



Swiss Peak Resorts

post by : simona.sauter

Was sind Swiss Peak Resorts?

Die Swiss Peak Resorts sind ein neues Ferienkonzept, das dem Schweizer Bergtourismus «mit einem fortschrittlichen Wirtschaftsmodell eine neue Dynamik verleihen» soll. Die Gäste der Swisspeak Resorts bekommen eine mobile App zur Verfügung gestellt, mit der sie ihren Aufenthalt mit einigen Klicks organisieren können. Die Buchung der Unterkunft, die Miete der Ausrüstung oder die Reservation eines lokalen Restaurants kann mit der App organisiert werden.


Hinter der Marke «Swisspeak Experience» steht der Mountain Resort Real Estate Fund SICAV. Philippe Lathion, ehemaliger Direktor von Télénendaz, gründete 2011 diesen Investmentfonds, der den Bau von Ferienhäusern in den Alpen finanziert. Diese werden nun vom Swisspeaks Resort mit einem Anteil an Hotelservices verwaltet. Sie strebt eine jährliche Auslastung von 50% an, in einem Walliser Hotelmarkt, der sich um 40% dreht. Vermarktet werden die Unterkünfte durch Interhome.


Für Roger Müller, Country Manager von Interhome Schweiz, hat dieses Resort gleich mehrere Vorteile. "Es befindet sich nur zwanzig Meter neben dem Skilift. In den Ferienwohnungen ist alles integriert. Der Gast kann einfach kommen und seinen Aufenthalt geniessen. Über eine eigene App hat er zudem die Möglichkeit, Zusatzleistungen in der Region zu buchen."

Standorte in den Schweizer Alpen (bestehend und geplant)

Das erste Resort wurde im Dezember 2017 in Vercorin eröffnet. Es zählt rund 450 Betten in Schlafsälen oder Wohnungen. Es handelt sich um Standard-Wohnungen mit 2 bis 8 Betten und einer Küche. Ausgestattet ist das Resort mit Kids Club, Gaming Room, Weinbar, Kaffee-Corner, Wellnessbereich, Sportgeschäft, Ski- und Veloräumen und einer Verkaufsfläche.

Zehn Swisspeak Resorts sollen bis 2024 in den Schweizer Alpen entstehen, in Vercorin, Zinal, Brigels, Grimentz, Morgins und Champéry. Bis heute ist ein Swiss Peak Resort eröffnet nämlich in Vercorin. Das Resort in Zinal wird in diesen Tagen teileröffnet werden. In Meiringen ist die Eröffnung für nächste Wintersaison geplant. Und das nächste Resort ist schon vorgesehen.


Ist das wirklich die richtige Lösung um leerstehende Betten zu kompensieren, wenn man immer neue Resorts baut?


Massentourismus in der Jungfrau Region

post by : loucine.maugere

Schon vor hundert Jahren war die Schweiz eine beliebte Tourismusdestination. Thomas Cook führte die ersten Pauschalreisen für Engländer in unser kleines Alpenland ein. Schon früh war das Berner Oberland eine populäre Destination. Dies wirkte natürlich für die Wirtschaft der Region positiv aus. Allerdings kommen nun immer mehr Touristengruppen, vor allem aus Asien, die im Blitztempo die Bergen besichtigen wollen. Am Morgen Interlaken, am Nachmittag schnell auf die Jungfrau Joch steigen, und am nächsten Tag schon in Paris. Dieser Massenansturm auf die Jungfrau hat nicht nur positive Auswirkungen. Genau diese Auswirkungen auf die Region, ab positiv oder negativ, wollen wir nun besser unter die Lupe nehmen. Darum stellten wir uns die Frage, wie der Massentourismus die Jungfrau Region beeinflusst in den Bereichen Wirtschaft, Natur und Kultur. Und welche Prognosen können wir für die Zukunft machen?


Steepest funicular in The World

post by : myriam.reymond

After 5 years of construction, the new funicular going from Schlatti to Stoos was inaugurated on the 17th of December 2017. It is the steepest funicular of the World. Replacing the old town funicular, students use it to go home and tourists use it to get to the mountain to enjoy summer and winter activities. The funicular goes from 562 meters to 1306 in 4 minutes. It has a capacity of 136 person and 34 per cabin. As the slope goes up to 110%, the cylindrical cabins allow a rotation that keeps people horizontal. Concerning the costs, it was supposed to be 43 M but ended up being 52 M. The prices are 22.- CHF per adult and 11.- CHF per child but you can use your Swiss Travel Pass. This is an innovative idea that is good for tourism due to its location and could be applied elsewhere. 


Der « Milestone Excellence in Tourism » Wettbewerb: Erklärt anhand des Beispiels der interaktiven Plattform «Dzin.ch»

post by : loucine.maugere

Seit dem Jahr 2000 ist der Milestone die wichtigste Auszeichnung in der Tourismusbranche und würdigt ein innovatives Projekt im Rahmen der Ökonomie des Teilens. Der mit 32'500 CHF dotierte Preis zeichnet besonders innovative und originelle Projekte in der Schweizer Tourismuslandschaft aus. Es gibt verschiedene Kategorien: Innovation, Premiere, Nachwuchs und Lebenswerk. Die Ziele des Wettbewerbs sind die Tourismuswirtschaft zu fördern, den Wissenstransfer zu begünstigen und das Reiseziel Schweiz attraktiver zu machen.

2017 wurde die partizipative Plattform des Freiburger Tourismusverbands «Dzin.ch» mit dem ersten Preis in der Kategorie «Innovation» ausgezeichnet. Diese Seite fördert den Erlebnistourismus und Ökonomie des Teilens und konnte sich somit gegen die anderen 7 nominierten Kandidaten durchsetzen.

Seit März 2017 bietet die Plattform «Dzin.ch» rund 100 online reservierbare Aktivitäten (davon 20% auf Deutsch) an. Jede volljährige Person kann sich als Dzin (= Mensch in Patois) auf der Plattform anmelden und eine originelle Aktivität, die zwischenmenschlichen Kontakt beinhaltet und einen lokalen bzw touristischen Bezug hat, anbieten. Die Touristen können dann online diese Aktivitäten buchen. Dzin.ch behaltet dann 20% des Gewinns, der Rest geht an den Dzin. Diese Seite verschreibt sich nicht nur dem Trend des Erlebnistourismus und der Ökonomie des Teilens, denn die zahlreichen angebotenen Aktivitäten tragen ausserdem zur Erhaltung von regionalen Traditionen und regionalem Wissen bei. Der zwischenmenschliche Austausch steht auf der Plattform im Vordergrund. Der Austausch mit Einheimischen ermöglicht somit eine enge Bindung zur Region und die Touristen können Authentizität und Leidenschaft erfahren.

Voraussetzungen um Dzin zu werden:

  1. Die Aktivität muss zwischenmenschlichen Kontakt beinhalten. Z.B.: geführte Velotour: ja / Velovermietung: nein.
  2. Die Aktivität muss einen lokalen Bezug haben. Z.B.: Folklore-Tanzkurs: ja / Salsa-Tanzkurs: nein. Kurs für Naturphotographie: ja / Kurs für Studiophotographie: nein.
  3. Die Aktivität muss an mindestens 4 verschiedenen Daten pro Jahr angeboten werden. Wenn du 2 oder mehr Aktivitäten anbietest, musst du mindestens 2 Daten pro Aktivität vorschlagen.
  4. Der Mindestpreis pro Person (Erwachsener oder Kind) beläuft sich auf CHF 10.-. Von diesem Betrag werden 20% abgezogen.
  5. Die minimale Teilnehmerzahl muss zwischen 1 und 4 liegen. Die maximale Teilnehmerzahl darf 20 Personen nicht überschreiten. Die Aktivität muss für Einzelpersonen auch als „Pauschale“ verfügbar sein. Das bedeutet, dass die angemeldeten Personen die Aktivität trotzdem buchen können, wenn die minimale Teilnehmerzahl nicht erreicht wird, wenn sie einen Pauschalbetrag bezahlen. Z.B: Preis pro Person: CHF 20.-. Pauschale CHF 110.-. Aktivität für 3 – 10 Personen. Wenn sich nur eine Person angemeldet hat, kann sie entweder CHF 110.- bezahlen oder annullieren.
  6. Die Aktivität muss im Kanton Fribourg respektive in einem der 7 Bezirke durchgeführt werden (Waadtländer Broye und Enklaven inklusive).

Die 10 Gebote des Dzin:

  1. Du bist gastfreundlich, motiviert und offen
  2. Du verpflichtest dich, deine Aktivität in einer geselligen Atmosphäre durchzuführen
  3. Du akzeptierst nur so viele Personen, die du problemlos empfangen und unterhalten kannst
  4. Du verpflichtest dich, eine Aktivität anzubieten, die so repräsentativ wie möglich für deinen Beruf oder dein Hobby ist
  5. Du garantierst die Richtigkeit der Angaben, die du in der Beschreibung deiner Aktivität und deines Profils machst
  6. Du annullierst deine Aktivität nur aus triftigen Gründen
  7. Du behandelst alle Besucher gleich und ohne Diskriminierung
  8. Du verpflichtest dich, ein Datum anzubieten, an dem du keine andere Reservationen ausser über die Plattform annimmst
  9. Du sorgst für die Sicherheit deiner Besucher und verfügst über genügenden und angepassten Versicherungsschutz
  10. Du deklarierst deine Einkünfte nach geltendem Recht und respektierst die geltenden Gesezte zu den angebotenen Aktivitäten.

Hyperloop One

post by : aurelie.stampfli

At the first sight, it looks like the train of the future and is the dream of a lot of human-beings. Let us present you Hyperloop One, the first of its kind high-speed train that can reach the speed of light, which means a speed of 1080 km per hour. This futuristic train is able to do so with a system of magnetic levitation, already used by some trains in Japan. Other performances of Hyperloop are that, it is able to operate silently and its users won’t feel any turbulences while travelling. To add that the system is designed to be entirely autonomous, direct-to-destination (no stop from a destination to another) and on-demand.

The first draft of that revolutionary train saw the light of day in Los Angeles in 2013. The main goal of the project is to transform the whole industry of transportation as we know it today and furthermore, to compete with the air and rail transportation by moving people more rapidly to their destination and at a less costly price.

Hyperloop One is slowly but surely developing passenger and cargo system routes in other countries such as United States, Canada, Finland, Sweden, etc. The objective of the company is to deliver a full-service and operational system by 2021.