Sudipta Dev – Mumbai
Three years ago St Moritz had started investing in the Indian market. While there has been some growth in tourist arrivals from India, according to Ariane Ehrat, CEO, Tourism Organisation Engadin St Moritz, the potential is much more. “Our focus is FIT and small groups. There are 162 hotels in Engadin Valley and as many as 15 of them are very interested in Indian clients. Badrutt’s Palace during winter season has an Indian chef and the Indian guests appreciate this. There are also apartments and villas that are keen to attract Indian guests. Intercultural workshops have been organised to help the local population learn more about Indian culture,” said Ehrat.
The products being showcased in the Indian market include an amalgamation of hotels across all categories, culinary highlights (local, international and Indian), and of course the natural beauty of the region. There are many soft adventure activities that would be of interest to Indian travellers – from electro-biking to walking around clear lakes and forests. “It is very unusual to have a valley which is dotted with lakes, and during summers there are various water sports available in St Moritz and Engadin Valley, from sailing to para gliding to kayaking, etc,” she mentioned. The Glacier Express bridges St Moritz and Zermatt. All visitors in summer season are offered mountain railway rides for free when they stay minimum two nights in a hotel. As many as 111 hotels participate in the offer. There are more than 10 different mountain railways that take visitors to the peaks. “In winter season 2014-15 we will celebrate 150 years of winter tourism. St Moritz is the birthplace of winter tourism and many programmes are being organised,” stated Ehrat. There will also be a Gourmet Festival, which, Ehrat feels, will be of special interest to Indian visitors. Then there is also Cricket on Ice and Polo on Ice (White Turf, a very popular event), Art Master an annual event, and many more.