Outbound tour operators, travel advisors, journalists, travel bloggers, and influencers across the world are invited to experience the southernmost region of Switzerland. From palm trees to thermal baths and some of the highest mountains in the country, AdventureWeek Switzerland, taking place 4-12 October 2021, will prove that there is much more to Switzerland than what is typically imagined. As the Regional Director for Europe with the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), I had the pleasure of spending a week with Switzerland Tourism in the Ticino, Andermatt, and Valais regions, to prepare for this upcoming event and share more about this destination.
First and foremost, Switzerland Tourism is striving for authentic and ambitious sustainable tourism with a mission to become the world’s most sustainable destination. AdventureWeek Switzerland will highlight the “Swisstainable” mission and story. Switzerland Tourism explains more about their sustainability mission in their "Swisstainable" strategy, “We are living in the age of sustainability, and the pandemic has increased our desire for authenticity, proximity to nature, and considerate consumption. No other destination meets this need quite like Switzerland. Switzerland has always taken care to strike a balance between the needs of our guests, the needs of the local population, and the needs of the environment. In the future, we intend to strengthen this position and also convey it to our guests.”
AdventureWeek Switzerland will tell the story of the generations before us–when one needed to cope with nature in order to survive. The richness and roughness of the four seasons experienced throughout the year required the local people to spend the winters in the villages to stay warm and go to the high mountains with their herds in the summer, where water and fresh green grass were available. During this AdventureWeek, participants will get the chance to experience some of these very same seasonal paths.
In Ticino, AdventureWeek attendees will enjoy a hike in the rich biodiversity of the Piora valley, which includes diverse features like palm trees and electric-free stone villages. Lago di Cadagno is a highlight of this region–the unique phenomena of the Alpine arch has three stratifications of waters that never merge and remain permanently separated. AdventureWeek participants will also discover Bellinzona, the capital of Ticino, by visiting a local market, discovering the local tastes of the region, and visiting the castles designated as UNESCO heritage sites.
Andermatt, once known for being a main Swiss military base, is the next stop of the trip. As an attractive summer and winter travel destination, the Andermatt region impresses with its cultural diversity and well-documented history. Traces of this eventful history can be found in the architecture of the local buildings and in the legendary Schöllenen Gorge with the notorious Devil's Bridge.
Before finishing the trip in Interlaken for the B2B Marketplace, Switzerland Tourism will ensure AdventureWeek attendees experience the panoramic train, Glacier Express, when they enter the Valais region. This area is famous for the highest peaks in Switzerland and offers outstanding spa opportunities with 51 C (124 Fahrenheit) natural thermal water.
Many are not familiar with Swiss wine or realize that Switzerland is home to the highest-altitude vineyard, but after spending a couple of days in the region, attendees will know why the Swiss keep it for themselves. Like most of what Switzerland offers, the quality is high! Participants will also experience the outdoor activity paradise, Saas-Fee, with the many options that await–thermal baths, hikes, bikes, and a “dive” in a gorge. A highlight at the end of the trip is a visit to Valais, where participants will either hike or bike the historical Thomas Cook path to the Bernese Oberland region.
The entire experience in Switzerland will take place using public transportation, on trains and local buses. This is part of the sustainable practices that Switzerland wants to showcase and demonstrate to other destinations in the hope to serve as an example of how sustainable travel can be experienced.
Misha Gambetta, AdventureWeek lead with Switzerland Tourism (and India Market Director) explains, “Switzerland Tourism has ambitious goals with the 'Swisstainable' strategy. 'Swisstainable' should be seen in a much larger perspective, not just self-referenced. The entire tourism sector is and must be involved. It is and will be a very intense process, varied, and with different starting levels and development in terms of sustainability. This goal is without the pretension of being the first and the best immediately, but to become so in the shortest possible time. Only with the support of the entire sector can Switzerland become an example.”
This week I experienced most of the trip in a very sustainable manner and collaborated with the Switzerland team to enhance the AdventureWeek program where needed. It truly is a journey to reach the “Swisstainable” goals and I am fortunate to be able to contribute to it, both personally and together with the ATTA community. With sustainability at the heart of the ATTA’s ethos, we are a reliable partner to communicate, educate, and promote Switzerland’s journey to becoming the most sustainable travel destination in the world. This AdventureWeek is one of the several components of our two-year collaboration and partnership.
We know that the global adventure travel community consists of very cautious minds who will also share insights and ideas for improvement as part of their visit to Switzerland. We look forward to hosting AdventureWeek in October to show not only that Switzerland offers an abundant variety of landscapes, cultures, languages, activities, and of course, incredible cuisine, but that sustainable travel does not have to lack in richness–just the opposite is true.
The ATTA is committed to applying the COVID-19 Adventure Travel Health and Safety Protocols created in collaboration with Cleveland Clinic. As with AdventureWeek Bogota earlier this year, the ATTA has changed the way the AdventureWeek program will operate to ensure the safety of all participants.
Applications for AdventureWeek Switzerland are open and will be accepted until 4 August 2021. You can submit your application and read more about the program here.