The Covid-19 pandemic meant that meetings and events were severely restricted. One event that fell by the wayside was the annual Switzerland Vacation Day – Switzerland’s biggest tourism marketing event, which was due to take place in April 2020. In order to maintain dialogue with tourism service suppliers even at this challenging time, Switzerland Tourism ST instead invited them to the online ST Recovery Talk. Some 1,700 participants joined the livestream of the event, which lasted around one hour. The recording was then made available on YouTube, where it has been watched by more than 6,500 further viewers.

Switzerland Tourism responded to the worldwide travel restrictions with empathy, striking marketing activities and attractive offers.

Video message from Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin

Brigitta M. Gadient made her first official appearance as ST President at the ST Recovery Talk. In her video message, she described how deeply affected she had been by the tremendous solidarity and go-getting mentality that she had seen from tourism service suppliers in these difficult times.

Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin also joined the ST Recovery Talk in video form, addressing the tourism industry and calling on providers to put the right steps in place for the future: “We need to focus on the future, simplify administration, drive forward digitalisation, make investment easier, and last but not least strengthen our resilience.”

Presentation of the three-stage Recovery Plan

At the virtual event, ST Director Martin Nydegger unveiled the Recovery Plan ((internal link)). Vice-Director Urs Eberhard described the situation in the markets and the planned implementation of the Recovery Plan for foreign visitors, including words from ST employees on the spot. It concluded with a Q&A session with the ST Director.

Direct dialogue is appreciated

Although the new information format was born out of necessity as a consequence of lockdown, it also shows what technical possibilities are already available for direct discourse within the industry. Appreciation of this virtual form of direct dialogue was demonstrated by the large number of participants, the many questions that were asked via the chat function and the stories in the Travelnews and htr industry portals. To ensure that information is shared and regular dialogue can take place in these challenging, pandemic-hit times, the new ST Industry Calls were also introduced in February 2020. These are open to all interested parties, with no need for prior registration, and are held via Zoom.