SWITZERLAND Tourism is courting incentive groups from its biggest South-east Asian source market, Singapore.
Ivan Breiter, director South-east Asia, Switzerland Tourism, said Singapore arrivals shot up by 23.9 per cent from 70,565 in 2012 to 87,444 last year. Groups tours account for approximately 75 per cent of visitors and incentives, 20 per cent.
Breiter said: “The incentive business is definitely a growing segment from South-east Asia because Switzerland is an appealing and prestigious destination for them to meet and play.”
Although corporate groups are usually between 15 to 20 people at the moment, the NTO is optimistic about attracting incentive groups that go up to 100 pax.
He said: “We are working closely with travel consultants to promote the unique events and locations we can use for meetings and incentives, and we will be inviting some of them for fam trips by the end of the year too.”
Popular incentive hands-on programnes unique to Switzerland include cheese making, yodelling and building a watch from scratch.
Fortune Travel’s senior sales manager, Lily Tay, who handles incentives, said: “Switzerland is a popular longhaul destination but budget-wise it can still be a concern because an incentive programme there needs to be at least 10 days long.”
Her company is currently fielding enquiries about the destination although there are no confirmed bookings for 2014 so far.
Meanwhile Breiter added that FITs are a growing market as well, especially among younger travellers who are “looking for convenient and comfortable adventures”.
“Singaporeans like it there because Switzerland is a small country that can offer a lot of different experiences at the same time…and everything works like clockwork there.”
Apart from Singapore, Breiter said Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia are the other three South-east Asian markets flocking to Switzerland.