Livio Goetz gives Sydney Paulden a brief review of the many and varied benefits it has to offerIt is not difficult to agree Livio Goetz, Marketing Manager at the Switzerland Convention & Incentive Bureau (SCIB), states that Switzerland has a lot to offer. He waxes lyrical about its remarkably wide range of landscapes within a very compact space.
‘An organiser can choose a location with a lake, a river, snow-capped mountains, beautiful lush pastures with wildflowers, ancient villages and modern cities and gardens fringed with palm trees – or, in fact, any combination of those, as travel can be rapid from one to the other in such a tiny country.
‘Switzerland is in the top league for numbers of international quality conference hotels per square kilometre and each major city can boast a high-tech spacious conference centre.’
A good level of English is spoken widely in Switzerland and yet the country has three national official languages, Swiss-German, French and Italian, plus Romansh in one of the cantons.
And Switzerland is accepted as amongst the safest destinations in the world from the point of view of health and personal safety.
So what is the main line of questioning when an event organiser is considering Switzerland? ‘Most frequently’, says Livio Goetz, ‘people raise the question of budgets. It is often assumed that costs would be high to stage an event in Switzerland. But often organisers can find that it does not break their budgets when the total package is taken into account in a detailed costing.
‘For example, in some areas, notably Geneva, local transport is completely free of charge, so groups can enjoy dine-arounds and excursions at an overall low cost.’
Livio is also able to point out that few destinations can compete with the quality and interest offered when an event is held in Switzerland. It is a country that is the choice of many outstanding global organisations to which visits can form part of a fascinating itinerary.
‘A visit to CERN, for example, The European Organization for Nuclear Research close to Geneva, will remain long in the memory of any group, scientific or not. Then who would forget a dinner cruise on Lac Leman with views of the Alps in Switzerland and France, possibly including a wine tasting at a vineyard and a call to see the lakeside medieval Chateau de Chillon near Montreux in the Canton de Vaud? Or perhaps a look round the museum of the HQ of the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne is a ‘must’ for an organiser. ‘And CERN and the IOC even offer their own facilities for holding meetings’, adds Livio.
Switzerland boasts at least ten conference centres that can be considered amongst the best in the world. ‘They form the membership of an association called Swiss Convention Centres’, says Livio, ‘and are based in Basel, Bern, Davos, Geneva, Interlaken, Lausanne, Lugano, Montreux and Zurich. They have spaces that can seat as many as 5,000 delegates in a single hall or can offer a choice of over 30 rooms in one centre or smaller events.’
If readers are now feeling that making a choice from so many excellent options would be difficult, then that is where the SCIB comes in.
‘We are here to do the research as necessary for the most appropriate venues for a specific event. We can obtain quotes and arrange site inspections. We make no charge. In 2015 SCIB introduced a very helpful Online Meeting Planner, so that organisers can start the ball rolling immediately by themselves.’