Switzerland raises green tourism stakes

About 200,000 Thai tourists are expected to visit Switzerland over the next year as demand for travel recovers post Covid-19, says the Switzerland Tourism Southeast Asia Office director.

Batiste Pilet said Thailand was one of the largest sources of tourists from Southeast Asia in Switzerland.

Mr Pilet, who is overseeing the Switzerland tourism campaign in the region, spoke at a Switzerland tourism winter media briefing in Bangkok recently, where he invited Thai tourists to experience wintertime in Switzerland.

Martin Nydegger, CEO of Switzerland Tourism, said the Swiss tourism industry is expected to fully recover by 2023, with “Swisstainable” — a play on the words “Swiss” and “Sustainable” — as its guiding principle.

He said principle will be applied across the board by Switzerland’s tourism agencies to promote a greener and more sustainable tourism.

”Each country has its own strategy. It is not a new thing. But it is not just a cool gag or marketing programme where we just show the wonderful scenery of our country and call it as ‘sustainable’,” he said.

”We actually mean it. In tourism, we are all facing the same dilemma. Tourism means moving people from A to B, and most of the time it is not by bicycle but vehicles that lead to carbon dioxide emissions.

“The core of our industry produces carbon dioxide and there is no alternative at this moment,” he said.

Tourism business operators joining the programme would receive a certificate to show their contribution to making Swiss tourism more sustainable, he said.

Under the programme visitors are encouraged to spend more time in Switzerland, which could help reduce CO² emissions from taking multiiple modes of transport, Mr Nydegger said.