Davos is the host of the 2017 Switzerland Travel Mart (STM). At a small ceremony the day before the opening of the e vent in Basel, location of the pre-tour for the North American operators, Switzerland Tourism revealed the three winners of this year’s Gold Flower Award for North American tour operators: Alpine Adventures, Europe Express and Kensington Tours.
The coveted award is given out every two years at the STM and rewards innovation, a high level of professionalism and outstanding cooperation in connection with the operators’ Switzerland products. “We’ve seen impressive growth in the overnight numbers of American and Canadian travelers in Switzerland over the last years, and especially this year, with 11% plus from the U.S. and 7% from Canada through July compared to 2016. This is thanks to continuous innovation and commitment of our tour operator partners in North America, and we want to reward some of the best with this year’s Gold Flower Award,” says Alex Herrmann, Director North America of Switzerland Tourism.
The first Gold Flower Award went to Alpine Adventures for launching new winter destinations such as Arosa, Lenzerheide and Andermatt, for integrating a summer hiking itinerary and for strongly increasing their Switzerland business. “Alpine Adventures offers everything avid skiers expect from a perfect winter vacation in Switzerland, plus great experiences for non-skiers such as Christmas markets, wellness, snowshoeing and scenic train rides. This enables individual guests and groups to enjoy the best of Switzerland, the original Winter Wonderland,” highlights Pascal Prinz, Trade Manager Eastern U.S. & Agent Relations North America, when he presented the award to Pete Kovacevic, Director of International Markets.
Europe Express won the award for adding new Swiss destinations and activities to their offers over the past two years. The award was presented to Paula McKay, President of Europe Express. “Europe Express has stepped up their marketing efforts for Switzerland and worked closely with Switzerland Tourism, executing various joint activities. Their complete product range and close partnership with key agencies and travel agents across the U.S. has been remarkable, also thanks to an amazing sales team,” says Mirko Capodanno, Manager Western U.S.
Dana Toma, Senior Product Director at Kensington Tours received the third award, an important and innovative partner for Switzerland Tourism in Canada. Kensington Tours perfectly combines the trends of river cruising, adventure travel, and pre- and post stays in Switzerland, and offers a variety of itineraries including the ‘Luxurious Grand Tour’, which features Switzerland’s natural and urban highlights and some of Switzerland’s most exquisite properties. “On their ’Signature’ tour, guests ride Switzerland’s most spectacular train, the Glacier Express, enjoy a Swiss chocolate workshop, and gaze at the Alps on a horse-drawn carriage ride,” explains Pascal Prinz, market manager Canada as of November 1st.
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