Switzerland Tourism and Kuoni Tumlare launch small-group train tours

As small-group travel is set to gain traction following the pandemic, Switzerland Tourism, Kuoni Tumlare and Swiss Travel Systems have teamed up to launch a joint campaign to promote mini-group train travel in Switzerland in the markets from Southeast Asia.

After two years of preparation, the initiative promotes guided tours using only public transport options such as trains, ships and buses.

Tripartite partnership between Switzerland Tourism, Kuoni Tumlare and Swiss Travel Systems takes advantage of small-group travel trend after Covid

Reto Kaufmann, vice president of sales and operations for Southeast and South Asia, Kuoni Tumlare, said this new product launch is “timely” because it takes advantage of the post-pandemic preference for travel. in small groups to limit exposure to potential risks.

“The underlying concept is to offer visitors to Switzerland a more sustainable way to explore Switzerland using the Swiss public transport network,” he said, adding that the exclusive routes offer “a proposition. value for money “for some travelers.

Mini-group tours are based on the Swiss Travel Pass, which offers unlimited journeys by train, bus and boat on consecutive days; and includes free travel for children up to 16 years of age and a reduced cost for young adults.

“The need for more private and tailor-made trips coupled with a growing desire to reduce its impact on the environment were the triggers for this project,” said Batiste Pilet, South-East Asia director of Switzerland Tourism.

“With the gradual recovery of the industry, the entire supply chain needs to restart, and for us as ONTs this is a great opportunity to harness new trends and better rebuild the industry, by placing more emphasis on the customer experience and towards greater sustainability.

Reto added: “In fact, we have received the first requests from incentive groups that aim for a more sustainable mode of travel with the aim of reducing their carbon footprint during their stay in Switzerland.”

While the ideal group size for these small guided tours is two to nine people, larger groups can also be accommodated, Reto said. He stressed that since reservations can be made on most trains and lake cruises, travelers need not worry, even when traveling in a larger group.

Switzerland Tourism and Kuoni Tumlare are working with travel agencies in the region to promote exclusive itineraries for these mini group tours by co-funding marketing efforts.

Batiste said: “At the start of the recovery, we wanted to help our key agents regain visibility in their market and reconnect with their clients. After the disruption (of travel), we believe it will accelerate the recovery of their sales channels. “

In addition, by partnering with Swiss Travel Systems, the initiative offers customers door-to-door baggage handling services, with two options available. Travelers can have their luggage transported from their country of departure directly to their first overnight hotel and then to each hotel booked in the program, or deliver their luggage to the arrival airport in Switzerland to be sent to their first hotel in night and to the rest of the hotels according to their itinerary.

Batiste believes that the demand for this mode of travel is spreading across the various markets of Southeast Asia.

“The product itself is customizable to suit customer preferences; However, the trends towards smaller groups and sustainability are global and should resonate in every market in the region, ”he said, adding that by working with agents, they can better respond to the specifics of each market.

Reto said it has seen a gradual increase in bookings right after the product’s smooth launch in all Southeast Asian markets as well as India, and expects demand to continue to grow towards the season. year-end vacation as travel restrictions relax in Asia. .

He added that given Switzerland’s reputation as an “extremely reliable and safe destination”, they are projecting an “over-proportional purchase” in these packages.

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