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Swiss tourism is currently enjoying great prosperity across the country. Healthy margins are being achieved by both flagship enterprises with international reach as well as smaller choice tourism providers, thus generating the capacity for new vitality and innovation.
Jean-François Roth, how would you sum up your twelve years in Swiss Tourism?
My term in office began in 2008 with a successful year and a record number of overnight stays, thanks mainly to our European visitors. Directly afterwards, we were hit by the economic crisis – and from 2015, with the abolition of the Swiss National Bank’s fixed euro exchange rate, we lost a large number of European guests. Things are now taking a turn for the better. I believe that the changes and innovations that have taken place in the industry in the difficult years have strengthened Swiss tourism for the future.
I was privileged to witness some highlights: the three funding periods for Switzerland Tourism ST approved by the Swiss Parliament and the anniversary of our organisation and the launch of the Grand Tour of Switzerland product – the result of excellent cooperation between regions, destinations and service suppliers, to name a few examples. I also particularly remember the twelve iterations of the Switzerland Vacation Day, which has now developed into an event packed with interactions, encounters and exchanges.
What can we learn from the changes that have shaped the industry over the twelve years?
Three things made a particularly strong impression on me. The first was the strong growth in the Asian markets. Secondly, there was the increasing move towards digitalisation, which gives us very precise tools for analysing guest behaviour and emerging travel trends. This is vital for marketing activities as efforts are increasingly geared towards the needs of specific guest segments. Finally, collaboration is more necessary than ever before in order to invest and innovate. ST plays a key role in linking all actors at national level. This role is crucial in ensuring balanced development in the tourism industry in line with our vision for prosperity across the country.
What will be the hot topics for the industry in the future?
Climate change and the need to contribute to the sustainable development of tourism. Switzerland as a destination for tourism has many advantages in meeting these challenges. I am certain that ST will also have a decisive, unifying influence on the success of the industry in developing more sustainable and balanced tourism.
|In the 12 years that Jean-François Roth has chaired the Board of Directors of Switzerland Tourism ST, Swiss tourism has undergone significant developments. After the absolute record number of overnights registered in 2008, the appreciation of the Swiss franc against the euro had a major impact on the number of overnights generated by European guests, particularly in mountain regions. After these years of turbulence and changes in the origin of guests as well as in their travel habits, ST is entering the second decade of the 21st century with key objectives set by its Board of Directors: attracting new guests, increasing the number of overnights and the frequency of visits, encouraging visitors to extend the length of their stays, generating added value, while aiming at a balanced management of tourist flows (regarding seasons, time, and mix of visitors).|
Brigitta M. Gadient takes over the Presidency in 2020
Brigitta M. Gadient is the first woman in Switzerland Tourism’s over 100-year history to assume the office of President. A native of Graubünden, she was a Member of the Swiss Parliament from 1995 to 2011. She now serves as President of the University of Applied Sciences Graubünden (FHGR) as well as Vice President of the Swiss Red Cross (SRK) and has her own legal practice in Chur, acting as a legal, organisational and strategic consultant.