Evergreen charms

Often perceived as an expensive destination, Switzerland in reality offers a value-for-money proposition for Asian corporate groups thanks to its diverse venues and activities available all year round.

South-east Asia has in recent years become an increasingly important market for Switzerland, with Asia as a whole delivering a growing number of tourists and corporate groups before the pandemic.

These figures are set to rise in coming years, especially as more companies recognise the country’s appeal as an incentive destination.

Paragliding in Interlaken

Picturesque meeting locations
The alpine country offers a long list of picturesque locations able to fit varying budgets and are suitable for a variety of events, from gala dinners to corporate meetings.

For example, located between Lausanne and Geneva, Portes des Iris offers six rooms that can host up to 700 guests for a sit-down dinner. Two terraces, which can accommodate up to 1,600 people, opens out to vast fields of green.

Over in Zurich, Bächlihof Jona on the banks of Lake Zürich offers both indoor and outdoor spaces for groups. Delegates can take part in a Farmer’s Tournament teambuilding activity that involves tractor-driving, wood-sawing and crossbow-shooting, before rounding the day off with a gala dinner complete with Swiss traditional music.

Despite its success with business events, Switzerland does not rest on its laurels. The country has continuously invested in new event facilities as well as refurbishment of existing ones to ensure they remain top notch.

Notable openings in the pipeline include The Circle Convention Center at Zurich Airport which will have over 2,800m2 of space across 18 venues. Providing accommodation support are two Hyatt hotels – a 255-key Hyatt Regency and a 299-key Hyatt Place. Over in Lausanne, the Millennium Center will offer a 500-seater theatre, a 450m2 ballroom, and 13 meeting rooms.

A plethora of activities
One of Switzerland’s unique selling points is the wide variety of social, cultural, urban and natural experiences all year-round.

Top winners in an incentive programme, for instance, can start their day with a tandem paragliding flight that soars high above the lakes and mountains of the Bernese Oberland.

They can then meet up with the rest of the group in Grindelwald for a spot of sledge building, an interesting activity not found in other parts of the world. Teams have to build a sledge out of materials such as old skis, car tyres, cushions, wire or cardboard.

A more sedate activity would involve taking the group to Bern, where delegates get to attend a half-day perfume-making workshop and take home a 50ml bottle of their own creation.

Similar activities include a three-hour-long watchmaking initiation workshop in Geneva; or learning about gin and creating one’s own concoction at the Turicum Gin Lab in Zurich.

During their free time, delegates can choose to visit the FIFA World Football Museum and explore over 3,000 exhibits; go on a guided tour of Lindt Home of Chocolate, which boasts the largest Lindt shop in the world; or hit one of the hiking trails in Grindelwald.

Pillar of support
Backing the country’s myriad offerings are Switzerland Convention & Incentive Bureau’s (SCIB) varying support policies.

For example, groups of 300 pax will be given access to an additional counter for tax refunds at the airport, while a 500-strong group will be provided with an award ceremony complete with a welcome speech by a local authority or a folklore music group as entertainment.

SCIB works with 20 other regional partners, such as in Lake Lucerne and Lake Geneva, who are happy to throw in other sweeteners. For example, Lake Lucerne Navigation Company offers a 10 per cent discount on charter cruises excluding F&B and additional services; while in Lake Geneva, Glacier 3000 offers a free Snowbus ride on the glacier.

Dominique Oi, M.I.C.E. manager Southeast Asia with SCIB, stated: “Switzerland is like no other country in the world. Already famous for its beauty and uniqueness of its landscapes, the country is also known to be safe, clean, dynamic and efficient. Put together, this makes Switzerland a compelling choice for your next business event.”

Sponsored Post