45 leading incentive and meeting travel agents from 12 Asian countries (China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam) will “Discover Switzerland” from 24- 27 April 2014. Representing a who’s who of decision makers from Asia’s outbound incentives and meetings industry, the whirlwind tour is being led by Kuoni Group Travel Experts – the world’s leading group travel provider – and hosted by Switzerland Tourism.
Kuoni Group Travel Experts’ and Switzerland Tourism’s first Asia Trophy tour will take guests to Appenzell, Bern, St. Gallen and Zurich as well as other areas in the eastern part of Switzerland. Buyers from the financial services, IT, telecommunications, consumer electronics and pharmaceutical industries join representatives from public sector agencies and leisure group wholesalers with strong departments devoted to meetings, incentives, congresses and events (MICE).
The company has established a strong reputation for MICE in South East Asian markets, which are enjoying significant economic and business growth, and is using the Asia Trophy to build this business. It is also reaching out to agencies and corporations in China and Japan, using the tour to demonstrate its capabilities as more and more organisations seek incentive travel options to reward employees for their achievements. They – and the travel agents they use to book incentive trips – rely on Kuoni Group Travel Experts to present their brand in the best way possible with exciting welcome events to make a fantastic first impression and an unforgettable gala event to leave a lasting impression on delegates.
Reto Kaufmann, Kuoni Group Travel Experts’ Head of MICE Sales for South Asia, says: “China’s powerhouse economy continues to drive international travel for business and leisure, while Japanese businesses have always seen the value in incentive trips for their employees. Increasingly we are seeing countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand invest in incentive trips as their business and economic fortunes prosper and in meetings overseas as they rise to meet the demands of international markets.”
The Asia Trophy is based on a concept developed by Switzerland Tourism: different teams rallying across parts of the country, getting to know the history, traditions and culture of Eastern Switzerland – largely undiscovered by many Asian travellers – as well as its role as a meeting and incentive venue. Teams uncover the answers to questions and complete tasks to earn points, which are totalled at day’s end until a winner is announced. At the end of the tour, each participant receives a brochure showcasing all of the accommodation, tours and activities that they have experienced and which can be booked for their clients through Kuoni Group Travel Experts.
Urs Eberhard, Vice-President of Switzerland Tourism: “Switzerland is already a popular destination for Asian incentive trips with Lucerne and Zurich particularly. On this trip, however, we want to give them an insider’s tour of Eastern Switzerland. Although less well known, it is a true discovery to visit this region and its strong heritage, landscapes and living traditions that are so typical for our country and can be experienced in a natural setting. For guests on the Asia Trophy tour, this will be a real eye-opener and an authentic Swiss experience that they will be sure to recommend to their clients.”
Guests will visit the Swiss capital and UNESCO world heritage city, Bern, and discover how to produce Emmental cheese. Heading deeper into Eastern Switzerland and they will get insight into the rural customs and traditions of Appenzell – best known for the ceremonial descent of the cattle in autumn – travel up Mount Säntis for spectacular views across Switzerland and visit a chocolate factory for a taste of another of the country’s famous exports. After a tour of the textile traditions of St Gallen and the Abbey Library of Saint Gall – another UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of earliest and most important monastic libraries in the world – they will take a cruise of Lake Constance and enjoy the spectacular Rhine Falls.
Adds Reto: “Groups on meeting and incentive tours can number from 50 to more than 1000 people and they typically spend four to five nights in Switzerland. They can be very price sensitive so we often host them outside Europe’s peak summer travel period when hotel supply is available at very competitive rates. It means such tours can bring valuable business to the tourism industry’s sometimes slower shoulder season. As many of our Asian customers have yet to discover the appeals of Eastern Switzerland, there is much that the industry can gain.”
Increasingly, organisers of incentive tours and large-scale meetings are looking for ‘sensory destination experiences’ and team building, treasure hunts and events with corporate social responsibility (CSR) elements are important. Shopping is also essential, but clients more often demand experiences that are out of the norm. Out-of hours store openings and personal shopping sessions, product briefings and fashion shows all enhance a programme.
Kuoni’s presence in 63 locations, its flexible approach and unrivalled network of destination management companies means it can help its customers in destinations around the world. Local knowledge and longstanding relationships with local authorities, accommodation providers, tour, attractions and service suppliers ensure that visitors get a real sense of each destination’s particular history and culture. Core appeals for industry stakeholders and the wider business community include:
- the expertise of its People: Kuoni Group Travel Experts know local destinations and source must-see venues as well as more exclusive locations
- the size and strength of its Presence: established in source markets old and new, Kuoni Group Travel Experts can also put people on the ground in destinations wherever they are needed
- the innovation and technology that drives Performance: Kuoni Group Travel Experts delivers quality, consistently and efficiently to help businesses profit and succeed
Switzerland Tourism and its Switzerland Convention & Incentive Bureau, the specialist department for MICE promotion, are present with qualified staff in most of the countries attending the 1st Asia Trophy. The Switzerland Convention & Incentive Bureau is a national non-profit-making organisation, representing the leading conference destinations, national event organisers as well as transport companies. As a central point of contact, the Switzerland Convention & Incentive Bureau offers free of charge independent assistance in planning your event in Switzerland. Switzerland Tourism works very closed with Kuoni in the Asian market to promote the country as the perfect destination for all kind of MICE business.