Swiss Tourism Focuses on India As A Market
When travellers plan a Swiss vacation, may have Bollywood to thank. Looking at how Indians plan a Swiss vacation, tells you how the Indian film industry and Bollywood have ensured this love stands strong and unwavering. How did they manage to keep this bond so strong? The breathtaking mountain tops, snow covered peaks… Indian filmmakers have been using the vast white and green landscapes of Switzerland as backdrops for Bollywood cinema since the 1960s. Most romantic dance performances are choreographed and filmed in the Alpine mountains or one of Switzerland’s numerous other scenic spots. Indian tourists are enamored by the country. Why not a Swiss vacation? They book vacation trips, taking (on an average) nine hours flights, to replicate their favorite Bollywood scenes for souvenirs of a lifetime. Brave women put on saris and dance in the snow! Switzerland is now the embodiment of romance and tranquility.
Switzerland falls within the top ten most popular tourist destinations for Indians – based on data that reflects the number of international departures from Indian airports in 2012. According to the Swiss Federal Statistics Office, close to 347,750 Indians visited Switzerland in 2018 and became responsible for 780,815 overnight stays in the country. Many Indians visit Switzerland for only about two to three days, with heavily packed schedules, to make the most of this expensive trip. Indian tourists spend an average of CHF240 in a single day when in the country. This is the seventh highest daily expenditure amongst all other touring nationalities.
Bollywood and Switzerland had a good run until the nineties when most Hindi filmmakers began cutting costs and changing locations to New Zealand, Austria, Ireland and Australia. The government of Switzerland is definitely aware of the potential of having Bollywood back in their land.
This explains Switzerland’s move in 2018-2019, to have Indian cinema (Bollywood) star, Ranveer Singh featured as the brand ambassador for Switzerland Tourism. This was part of the huge Swiss Tourism marketing campaign to attract Indian tourists to Switzerland.
The History Behind A Swiss Vacation
Before Raj Kapoor ventured to Switzerland to shoot some scenes for his film ‘Sangam’ (1964), most romantic scenes and songs in Bollywood took place in Kashmir. Yash Chopra took his work to Switzerland in 1970. A mountain lake in the Interlaken area – where he shot often – has been nicknamed the ‘Yash Chopra’ lake! He has also been named the honorary ambassador of Interlaken, and a statue of him holding his film camera stands tall in the area.
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SLX Learning organized a study trip for Swiss students from the University of Fribourg to India as part of its blended learning programs. The program involves online classes, events and experiences. The students met the head of Swiss Tourism’s India branch. He mentioned the importance of the Indian market for Swiss Tourism. Catch a glimpse of their incredible learning journey here:
Jobs and Opportunities for the Swiss
Tourism is a high revenue generator in Switzerland, accounting for nearly 3% of the GDP. Trades in gold, medicines, watches and other products form another huge part of the GDP. Banking is another giant for the Swiss economy, accounting for nearly 12% of the GDP.
Ever since Switzerland began its love affair with Bollywood, more and more employment opportunities for Swiss nationals have opened in the field of tourism. There are guided tours of Bollywood’s filming locations which have become people’s entire sustenance, and hotels are heavily populated with Indians.
Other nationalities which enjoy travelling and spending on a Swiss vacation include Germans, British, Americans, Chinese and Arabs!
Did Switzerland Lose its Bollywood Affinity to New Zealand?
Not at all. Yash Chopra once again rekindled the memories of his fans and brought the snowy mountains of Switzerland back into the Indian paradigm with his 1998 film Kuch Kuch Hota Hain. The Government of Switzerland honored him the title of Ambassador of Interlaken in recognition to his valuable contribution, both to the Swiss economy and to the seventh art. Switzerland’s film promotion agency also began offering free scouting trips to Indian filmmakers, widening the incentive for them to shoot there and Indians continue to holiday in Switzerland.
Tourism : Plan A Swiss vacation
All this worked wonders. In 2006, a quarter of a million Indians planned a Swiss vacation; a number that had tripled over the decade that preceded it.
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