New Delhi: Yash Chopra’s romantic Bollywood sagas boosted the popularity of Switzerland like never before. Now, actor Ranveer Singh as the country’s ambassador in India, has managed to drive a 25 per cent growth rate in the overnights in the Alpine nation, said a top official.
Ranveer, currently being talked about for his role as the villainous Alauddin Khilji in “Padmaavat”, was in 2016 appointed Switzerland’s first Indian ambassador.
“We couldn’t be luckier to have Ranveer Singh as our brand and country ambassador. He has really boosted the image of Switzerland in terms of tourism to make it younger, fresher, more exciting and more active. This is exactly how we want to position Switzerland in future to place it as the most desirable outdoor destination and he is helping us in doing just that,” Martin Nydegger, the newly appointed CEO of Switzerland Tourism, told IANS in an email interview.
“We reported a new record of 25 per cent growth rate in the overnights. We are absolutely convinced that it is certainly due to the efforts to get with Ranveer,” he added.
Their arms are open for Bollywood associations.
“We are very happy to extend and continue with Ranveer Singh in 2018 and we are very much looking forward to that. We would always welcome all the production companies, stars and all the whole of Bollywood industry to continue shooting in Switzerland,” Nydegger said.
India is a rapidly growing market for the Switzerland tourism industry.
“Some 18 years ago in the year 2000, it started with around 200,000 overnights and soon we are reaching 750,000 and that’s an enormous growth. In the last three years, we had a growth of roughly 53 per cent and in 2017 alone, the growth rate was a good 25 per cent. We predict a growth rate of another 33 per cent in the next 3-4 years,” he said.
India ranks seventh in importance among all the countries for Switzerland in terms of tourism.
“Footfalls from the Indian market is extremely important to us in terms of numbers but even more important to us because of the travel season. With Indian holidays beginning in April-May, we have maximum Indian tourists visiting during the summer, which is a low global tourist season for us in Switzerland.
“Having said that, we would love to see Indians travel during our other peak holiday seasons such as autumn and winter to experience the season then,” he said.
He believes while Bollywood has given Indians a traditional view of Switzerland, there is a lot more that it has to offer.
“Indians know Switzerland in a traditional manner from Bollywood and lovely pictures of nature and romance. We would now like to show Switzerland in a more variety of viewpoints and extend that to new seasons like autumn which has beautiful colours and fits perfectly in the vacation plan of Diwali.
“Also, for winter travellers, we have specially created programmes such as the ‘First Ski Experience’ which is a very easy skiing programme for beginners.
“Apart from that we also have the Grand Tour of Switzerland which is basically the ‘Route 66’ of Switzerland. There is no better way to experience Switzerland in its variety, different languages and cultures and to roam through city and urban areas, alpine landscapes and lakes than the Grand Tour of Switzerland,” he added.
For Nydegger, India was one of the first offices Switzerland Tourism established in the foreign market, so for him, the countries “have a long-standing relationship”.