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Switzerland Tourism ST was finally able to hold its Switzerland Vacation Day again in 2021. However, the pandemic meant that it had to take place in virtual form for the first time. There were two other firsts at the May 2021 event: attendance was free, and all webinars – the virtual equivalents of the breakout sessions at the conventional Switzerland Vacation Days – were entirely provided by ST’s own staff.
How high were total Swiss tourism revenues in 2019, the last year before the pandemic?
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Tourism is a major contributor to the Swiss economy. Pre-pandemic revenues in 2019 totalled just under CHF 47 billion, of which 55.8% was earned by accommodation, catering and transport (source: Swiss Tourism Federation, “Tourismus in Zahlen 2020”).
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Around 2,000 people took part in the virtual Switzerland Vacation Day. They enjoyed a varied look and feel, with backdrops and special effects ensuring that the audience never got bored sitting in front of their screens at home. The majority of the event was live streamed from a TV studio in Volketswil, Zurich.
Almost half of the participants in 2021 were attending for the first time. This good result was achieved thanks not only to the decision not to charge for attendance, but also to pieces in the key tourism industry publications GastroJournal, Hotel Revue/htr and Travelnews in the run-up to the event.
Positive scores from participants
Participants scored the event highly. Overall satisfaction was 8.3 points, slightly higher (+0.3 points) than the last time the physical event took place in 2019. Respondents particularly appreciated the webinars, with the speakers getting top ratings.
For the first time, attendees were also able to provide feedback during the event using the chat function. This was welcomed across the board, as borne out by comments such as: “A great virtual event with strong messages and the right pinch of positivity! Thank you very much, ST!” and “A great, inspiring introduction to the Switzerland Vacation Day and a great focus on sustainability with Swisstainable.” There were also plenty of positive comments about Roger Federer: “What a great film with Roger and De Niro! Many congratulations!” and “I am fired up. Thank you Switzerland Tourism. Thank you Bastian Baker. Thank you Roger. Thank you Robert De Niro.”
An address by the President of the Confederation and diverse webinars drawing on internal expertise
ST’s CEO Martin Nydegger and President Brigitta M. Gadient opened the Switzerland Vacation Day on 4 May 2021, sharing their assessments and expectations. Other speakers included President of the Confederation Guy Parmelin and several members of the ST Executive Board. Information about campaigns and cooperations was also on the agenda – including of course the collaboration with brand ambassador Roger Federer. The programme also featured video from the international offices in the markets and musical entertainment from singer Bastian Baker.
The second day was the ST e-training day, with 55 webinars providing inspiration and valuable insights into the various markets plus topics such as digital marketing, social media and market research. The webinars illustrated the sheer depth of knowledge at ST. For the first time in the history of the Switzerland Vacation Day, the organisers did not use any external trainers but relied entirely on in-house expertise.
For anyone who missed out on the Switzerland Vacation Day or wants to revisit any elements of it, recordings are available in four languages. The webinar presentations were made available to download for about a year.