Travel Media “Meet the Swiss” in New York City
About two dozen media representatives convened at Manhatta restaurant
on the 60th floor of the 28 Liberty Street complex in the Financial District of New York City on Jan. 25 to learn more about Switzerland.
The event spotlighted the Lucerne-Lake Lucerne Region, Ticino Tourism, the Valais-Matterhorn Region and the Swiss Travel System.
Trains are at the heart of the Swiss travel system, Martin Oester, sales and marketing manager North America, said. “Trains get you everywhere in Switzerland. It’s the best way to explore Switzerland,” Oester emphasized. The Swiss travel team is especially excited about the new Golden Pass Express, a panoramic train that, among other options, has a “prestige” category with only nine seats in the front and nine seats in the back.
Oester also highlighted the Swiss Travel Pass, which enables tourists to hop on and off all of Switzerland’s trains, and also provides access to mountain resort areas and more than 500 museums. Access to buses, boats and other public transportation is also included.
Damian Suess, Project Manager Communication & PR for Lucerne Tourism, began his presentation about Lucerne, “a small, but very diverse city with a lot of stuff to offer,” by highlighting the Chapel Bridge. Art and cultural events noted included the Lilu Light Festival Lucerne, Carnival Lucerne, Piano Festival, Fumetto Comic Festival Lucerne, Lucerne Regatta, Lucerne Festival Summer, World Band Festival and Lucerne Blues Festival.
There are a wide variety of hotel accommodations in Lucerne, but of special note is the Mandarin Oriental Palace Lucerne, which reopened in 2022. It was described as a “harmonious mix of Chinese elements and Belle Epoque design.” It includes 136 guestrooms and 48 large suites.
A visit to Lucerne wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the nearby mountains, including Mt. Stoos, where visitors will find the world’s steepest funicular railway, Mt. Rigi, which features Europe’s first mountain cogwheel railway, Mt. Stanserhorn, where you will find the world’s fist convertible cableway, Mt. Pilatus, with the world’s steepest cogwheel railway, and Mt. Titlis, featuring the world’s first rotating aerial cableway cabins.
In addition, Suess announced that Vail Resorts, Inc., has bought into the SkiArena Andermatt-Sedrun with a majority stake. The new capital will be invested in the expansion of lift and snowmaking facilities, as well as in gastronomy and leisure facilities.
Ticino, the “sunny side of Switzerland,” was spotlighted by Michel Cavadini, head of foreign markets. The sun-kissed landscape is all the easier to explore, Cavadini pointed out, thanks to the Ticino Ticket, a complimentary mass transportation pass given to all guests who check into hotels in Ticino. Cavadini emphasized the area’s “energetic places,” spots in nature, such as valleys, mountains and remote villages, where visitors can “regain energy.” As examples, he pointed to Gambarogno yoga trail at the Sass da Grum, Monte Verita-the Mount of Trugh and Maggia and Verzasca Valleys.
Ticino boasts of its 300 days of sunshine, more than 2,500 miles of marked paths and trails and more than 230 miles of unsurfaced MTB trails.
Also of exciting note was Corippo, the first “scattered hotel” with 12 exclusive lodgings. The family-run Corippo includes five renovated historic stone houses.
Mario Braide, Director, Asia and North America Market Manager USA and Canada, shared insights about the many reasons to visit Switzerland’s Valais-Matterhorn region. A prime way to visit the area is a journey by train on the Glacier Express from St. Moritz to Zermatt. Luxury accommodations on this journey are available, including a six-course menu with accompanying wines, guaranteed window seats, an exclusive bar and personal concierge service.
Animal lovers will find many delights in the Valais-Matterhorn region, including a chance to “meet the sheep” at Gornergrat. Vistors can meet the area’s distinctive black nose sheep, which conservationists use GPS tracking to study and protect. There also is Barryland, a museum with St. Bernard dogs. In February/March and in September, visitors are treated to litters of puppies. You can get the full Swiss St. Bernard experience by hiking with the dogs at St. Bernard Pass.
Of special note in the Valais-Matterhorn region is the Hotel Eringer, located in the Heremence Valley. This four-star hotel includes 70 rooms and a spa area with an indoor pool. It was a National Geographic Hotel Award 2022 runner-up in the category, “Snow Queen.”
There also is significant culture to enjoy in the Valais-Matterhorn region, including Fondation Gianadda, an internationally renowned cultural foundation. Its art collections and exhibitions feature works by Picasso, Miro, Renoir, Niki de Saint-Phalle and many other significant artists.
Nature lovers will find Aletsch Glacier in the Valais-Matterhorn area, the longest glacier in the Alps with 12.5 miles of ice. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Jungfrau-Aletsch.
Valais-Matterhorn visitors in the mood for outdoor sports and adventure can visit 4 Valley, the largest ski resort in Switzerland, Portes du Soleil, the largest international ski resort and Swiss Wall, the steepest slope of the world.
Those in the mood for something warmer can visit Leukerbad, the largest thermal spa resort of the Alps with a water temperature of 124 degrees Fahrenheit.
Meanwhile, food lovers in the Matterhorn region will find SAAS-FEE, the highest revolving restaurant in the world at 11,482 feet near a summer ski area. Culinary enthusiasts also will enjoy the area’s Valais wine, the biggest wine producer in Switzerland with 11,870 acres of cultivated area. Sixty variety of grapes are grown. Tourism opportunities for wine lovers include wine walks and e-bike tours, among other ways of experiencing the wines of this region.
It was clear at the end of the evening that sun, sports, relaxation, reinvigoration and culinary delights await visitors to Lucerne, Ticino, and the Valais-Matterhorn region.