Graubünden courts GCC families with wellness holidays

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The Swiss region of Graubünden is aiming for a record number of GCC visitors this summer, with a focus on the great outdoors, health and wellness for the whole family.

Graubünden’s summer campaign highlights a range of summer holidays aimed at GCC travelers looking to enjoy a more relaxed and healthier, family-oriented vacation. Visitors can experience outstanding natural beauty, thermal baths and outdoor activities in a mild climate that offers a welcome respite from the intense summer heat in many parts of the GCC region.

In addition, there is a wide range of hotels and serviced apartments, Michelin-starred restaurants and extensive cultural experiences, making it the perfect destination for GCC families this summer.

“Following the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, visitors from the GCC are returning in large numbers and we expect demand to increase significantly this summer,” says Tamara Loeffel, Head of Business Development at Visit Graubunden.

“Grisons is famous for some of the best health and well-being experiences in the world, and Grisons is also well acquainted with Arabic culture – many of its 170 restaurants offer halal menus and most hotels also have Arabic-speaking staff,” added Löffel.

The largest source markets from the GCC are the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, each with a 35% share, Kuwait and Qatar each contributing around 12%, with visitors from Bahrain and Oman accounting for the remaining 6%.

According to the latest figures from Switzerland Tourism, UAE residents staying overnight in Switzerland have already exceeded pre-pandemic levels. Comparing the figures between July and December 2021 with the same period in 2019, the number of registered overnight stays increased by 20.8% from 188,384 to 227,482.

Arrivals to the UAE increased from 75,084 to 85,632 over the same period, in 2019 versus 2021. Additionally, a recent survey conducted by YouGov highlighted that Switzerland is the top-ranked overseas destination for UAE residents.

“In the years leading up to the pandemic, GCC tourists in Switzerland typically accounted for about a million overnight stays per year, with daily spends of around US$466 per day each. According to Statista, a German company specializing in market and consumer data, GCC accounted for 9% of all arrivals in 2021.

“In addition, the Swiss government has announced that visitors from the GCC will no longer need to present an entry form, vaccination certificate or negative PCR test. Social restrictions have also been relaxed in Switzerland, masks and COVID certificates are not required when entering hotels, restaurants or shops.

“Especially this summer, the fresh air, the outstanding natural beauty, the mild climate and healthy outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling and sailing make Graubünden an ideal place for families who want to escape from everyday life,” said Loeffel.

With a share of 17.2% of the total area of ​​Switzerland, Graubünden is the largest and most sparsely populated region with just over 200,000 inhabitants – Switzerland has 8.6 million inhabitants.

The Graubünden region is world famous for its natural spas, spectacular landscapes, lush green valleys, snow-capped peaks and crystal-clear alpine lakes. Train journeys through the mountains in the Rhine Gorge are among the most spectacular train journeys in the world. It is even possible to visit four different countries in one day – Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria and Italy.

Aside from the glamorous resorts like St Moritz and Davos, there are plenty of other destinations worth exploring like Vals, home to thermal baths built from 300 million year old stone, and the countryside around Flims and Laax famous for its crystal clear lakes. And for children who love stories, the classic children’s novel Heidi is set in the small town of Maienfeld.

“There are many options for GCC residents when traveling to Switzerland. Swiss Airlines flies to seven destinations in the GCC, including Dubai, Riyadh, Muscat, Bahrain and Kuwait. In addition, Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad fly up to 38 times a week to Zurich and Milan, and there are also excellent road and rail connections from Geneva and Munich,” said Loeffel. – TradeArabia news service

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