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Published on : Saturday, November 9, 2013
One of Switzerland’s leading destinations is raising awareness of its appeals among affluent Middle Eastern travellers by strengthening its links with one of the world’s largest travel wholesalers, GTA. Interlaken Tourismwill host GTA’s annual General Sales Agent conference this weekend (9–12 November 2013) at the Lindner Grand Hotel Beau Rivage.
GTA helps connect a destination, its accommodation and attractions, to businesses selling travel to consumers around the world. Powering global travel, the company reaches millions of potential visitors in mature and emerging markets with its online booking sites and XML feed, which together process over 21,000 bookings every single day.
Rami Mashini, GTA’s Vice President of Sales for the Middle East & Africa, says: “GTA’s General Sales Agent network throughout the Middle East is a vital part of our success and gives us added advantage over our competitors. These local business partners provide us – and the destinations we work with, such as Interlaken Tourism – with accurate and powerful insights into the travel behaviour and preferences of their countrymen.
“It’s an honour to be invited to host our conference in Interlaken this year and a wonderful opportunity to see first-hand some of its appeals. I am sure we will be inspired to share what we see and learn this weekend with travel agents when we return home.”
The innovative partnership could help Interlaken edge out its competitors when Middle Eastern travellers plan their next trip. The number of room nights booked by travellers from GTA’s Middle East & North Africa region rose 23% in 2012. After Geneva and Zurich, Interlaken is Switzerland’s third most popular destination in terms of the number of room nights booked by MENA travellers. Room nights increased 7% last year and more than a fifth of room nights booked was in Interlaken.1
Over the weekend, parts of the conference programme will ensure that representatives have the chance to sample some of Interlaken’s appeals including a cablecar journey for dinner at the Piz Gloria revolving restaurant on the Schilthorn – made famous in 1963’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – and the town’s folklore restaurant, Spycher.
“We’re delighted to welcome GTA’s General Sales Agent conference and delegates from around the Middle East to Interlaken,” says Stefan Ryser, Head Marketing, Interlaken Tourism. “Our wide open spaces, big skies, fresh Alpine air and activities from walking and hiking to cycling and swimming complement our reputation for wellness tourism and make us a magnet for the Middle Eastern tourist. Whether relaxing beside the water, photographing our stunning landscapes or enjoying local cuisine, we look forward to welcoming many more as we help GTA get to know us better.”
In the heart of the Swiss Alps, Interlaken is the main gateway to the country’s mountains and lakes. One of the oldest and most popular tourist resorts in Switzerland, it has been visited for its mountain air and spa treatments since 1820. Among its main attractions are the mountains of the Jungfrau, Mönch and Eiger and the sequence of connecting mountain railways which give access to the Jungfraujoch, the highest point in Europe reachable by train. One of these, Brienz, is the starting point for Switzerland’s last remaining steam operated mountain railway, the Brienz-Rothorn railway.
GTA’s Sales Agent Network makes it a popular intermediary for travel agents and tour operators in the Middle East. With 15 years at the forefront of tourism in the region, GTA’s reputation and its locally employed staff give the travel industry extensive insights into these very different, sometimes sensitive, markets. The network is core to GTA’s strategy to grow where the future is in markets with rising demand for domestic and outbound travel.