Alpine country tweaks tourism to offer first-hand experiences

For well-heeled Indian tourists travelling abroad, who are not satisfied with mere sightseeing, the diverse linguistic, culinary, architectural and musical traditions in Switzerland could provide a more first-hand experience of this Alpine country’s living traditions.

From making a handmade watch with one of the watchmakers to producing the famous Swiss cheese in a dairy or even making cow bells, Switzerland this year is out to provide unique experiences to Indian travellers. The sportier type can relate to Swiss wrestling, though rules and clothing differ from the Indian kusthi.

Switzerland Tourism is celebrating 2013 with the theme on living traditions. Of the 400 or so such traditions, Indian travellers can relate to some 10 of them though it doesn’t mean they have to choose only them for their experience. “Indian tourists’ preferences are changing. They are no longer satisfied with sightseeing and want experiences too,” Switzerland Tourism deputy director (India) Ritu Sharma told presspersons in Bangalore Thursday.

Though the number of Indian tourists increased by about 250 per cent in the last one decade, 2012 saw a slight dip. “About 5 lakh Indian tourists visited Switzerland in 2012 and we expect an 8 to 10 per cent growth in 2013. Bangalore is the third largest market after Mumbai and National Capital Region of Delhi,” she said.

The south Indian film industry is also following Bollywood in shooting picturesque locations. The latter, which was instrumental in kindling Indian tourists’ interest in Switzerland, is slowly being replaced by the south Indian film industry, Ms. Sharma said.