Sudipta Dev – Mumbai
As a destination Chamonix Mont-Blanc has been focusing on the India market for the last seven years. It has evolved in these years from a destination which Indians would stay for a night or two to one where they are now spending six nights – to not just explore the many offerings of the destination itself but also as a base for exploring many places of interest that are just a few hours drive away. “This is the advantage of Chamonix which is at the cross roads of three countries, which is France, Italy and Switzerland,” stated Sheetal Munshaw, India representative, Chamonix Mont-Blanc Tourism Board in India. With the cancellation of biometric for France visa, Munshaw is hopeful that large MICE groups will now look at Chamonix as there has always been an interest in the destination.
Chamonix Mont-Blanc is home to Aiguille du Midi – the highest peak in Europe accessible by cable car. “It is at the top of Europe as far as getting there by cable car is concerned where you get to an altitude of 3842 metres. While the summit is the main attraction, Chamonix is also a gourmet destination, has high-end spas and one of the few wine spas that exists in France. It has the first spa that started wine therapy. Chamonix also has an exciting night life,” mentioned Munshaw. Yet another highlight is the Mer de Glace (Sea of Ice) glacier that is among the largest glaciers in Europe.
Chamonix is looking at new markets to promote its attractions during low season and to welcome clients – mid April to beginning of July and during Autumn. “Chamonix has two peak seasons – the winter and summer. Winter starts at mid December and ends mid April. We have peak season in summer, from July to August. We know that Indian travellers go to Swiss destinations. Chamonix is also located in the French Alps so we have been trying for more than seven years to promote Chamonix as an interesting mountain destination for Indian travellers,” said Antoine Burnet, sales and marketing director, Compagnie du Mont Blanc. There are 80 restaurants including Indian and vegetarian options. One of the new highlights is the ‘The Step into the Void’ – a glass cage suspended over the void on one of the Aiguille du Midi’s terraces where you can look down to more than 1000 metres.