What has been the growth to Titlis from the Middle East market?
Mount Titlis entered the Middle East market seven years ago with the opening of the office of the Switzerland Tourism office in the GCC. Those days, we hardly had any visitors from the GCC market but growth has been constant. Now, we welcome close to a 1000 people in the group segment and many more as FITS. A majority of travellers also join the daily seat-in-coach tours operated from Zurich and Lucerne.
How does the region cater to the Middle East traveller?
The Arab traveller has certain key requirements in food and accommodation mainly. The hotels in the Lake Lucerne area are well-versed with food requirement of these clients. Various hotels from the three-star to the five-star category are directly active in this market. These activities have brought gains to hotels and the region. We also know that clients from the Gulf countries tend to stay for longer periods.
Which key regions from the Middle East do you see potential? Are there any emerging market you would like to tap into?
The majority of business comes from Saudi Arabia still into Switzerland. However in our region, we have more people from Qatar, Kuwait and the UAE. Oman has good potential and sees strong growth every year. The next in line is Bahrain though providing small numbers, has got good potential. These markets are strategized as to their potential and then addressed accordingly.
What has been the strategy in terms of marketing and promotion to promote Mount Titlis in the Middle East?
Currently we have a ‘soft-sell’ approach targeting only a few key players and some agents who specialize in Europe. There are no windows to sell the Mt Titlis product as yet. But in the not so distant future this will surely change. Currently, agents are buying through recognized wholesalers. Every year, we visit the GCC to meet agents and educate them on our product. This may be jointly with other partners from Switzerland or individually.
Could you highlight any key features of Mt Titlis? Any new developments / attractions in the pipeline?
Mt Titlis is constantly reinventing itself! As one of the very few mountain excursions offering snow activities in the summer our sales pitch is of course guaranteed snow. Visitors travel in the world’s first revolving cable car, the ‘Rotair’, experience the ‘Ice-Flyer ride’ down to the ‘Glacier Park’ where they can try all activities in the snow for free and unlimited use. To commemorate our 100th year last year, we opened the ‘Titlis Cliff Walk’ Europe’s highest suspension bridge and in August, we opened a round trip through a tunnel below the glacier. We are constantly enhancing the Mt Titlis experience, without increasing our prices for add-ons. We have many projects in hand and are patiently executing them one by one.
What are your expectations in terms of growth from the region for the next year?
Our growth forecast is healthily optimistic in double figures. But if you ask me over the next three years, I would say roughly a 40% growth.
Which are the top performing markets for Mount Titlis globally in terms of visitor numbers?
Putting our winter ski business aside, number wise, it is China followed by India. But you must note that except for Japan and Korea, all other Asian countries send highest number to Mt Titlis. Australia continues to shine too! Hence it is our constant endeavor to constantly enhance the Mt Titlis experience to make it Switzerland’s most popular mountain excursion.