Crans-Montana becomes a hot favourite

Rubod ... understanding the needs of the Arab traveller

CATERING to the rising influx of GCC visitors to Switzerland, the Swiss National Tourism Office to launch ‘Switzerland Travel Experience – GCC 2013,’ a programme specifically designed to unveil the country’s numerous sports, well-being and touristic attractions to the discerning Gulf traveller. Located in the heart of the Swiss Alps, Crans-Montana is complementing the campaign with a series of promotions, from luxury seeking to budget conscious guests.

Last year, 165,992 GCC tourists visited Switzerland and booked a total of 492,832 overnights in the country. Philippe Rubod, CEO, Crans-Montana Tourism Board observes that GCC traveller have over the past few years gained a firmer grasp of the superb touristic value of Switzerland, especially during special family-bonding occasions such as Eid.

Offering a 200-km-wide panoramic view over the Alps and a breath of the cleanest air in Switzerland, Crans-Montana covers an expansive area of hotels and activity hubs that reflect its slogan – ‘As varied as your desires.’ TTN spoke with Rubod to learn more about the destination’sappeal to Arab travellers and its offering for the rest of the year.

What is special at Crans-Montana this winter?

With breathtaking views across our valley, our setting within the Swiss Alps is particularly unique. Crans-Montana is a premium alpine destination, also blessed with a wonderful variety of accommodation options which is unique among Swiss resorts. Our hotels understand the needs of the Arab traveller from cuisine, to the types of accommodation or the services and amenities needed.  We have a fantastic family recreation park at Aminona Gondola including a 6KM sled run and snow shoe walking trek.

What kind of interest do you receive from the Arab region?

We do have a loyal following of families who frequent Crans-Montan in the summer months and they return in vacation seasons year round to enjoy our amazing weather, scenery and fresh air. With ever-improving flight connections with GCC airlines, our region becomes more accessible and there are more seats available for customers choosing to visit us.

How do you cater to the needs the Arab traveller?

Our hotels take time to understand the Arab traveller. They have invested time to understand the preferences of cuisine, room types and behaviours. Satisfying your customers means understanding their needs, their nuances and remembering them for future visits. We have been investing time and resources in the Middle East region for a number of years and therefore our experience is excellent.

Which is your strongest market in GCC and Middle East?

Captivating winter escapades at Crans-Montana

We have a strong depth of visitors from UAE, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Each of those four countries provides the largest volume of visitors, particularly in the summer months.

What other key sources are you looking to attract?

We have not peaked from the key GCC source markets as yet, therefore we will continue focus our attention there and not spread our efforts too thin.

What are your plans for 2014 and beyond?

We are now setting ourselves up for a busy winter season and analysing our summer promotions. We expect to launch another summer promotion for 2014 in early May and given the strength of word of mouth in the region, we do expect to see another increase in families visiting our destination. We are working on a number of festivals, events and shows which complement the natural beauty of Crans-Montana and will of course share that information with the travel trade and via our consumer website.