Switzerland Tourism has been operating in Canada since 1972. With 300’000 generated overnights in 2023, Canada is ranked as 16th in Switzerland’s source market. Hereafter you find the most important market information.

Directory

  1. Know the basics
  2. Bi-monthly market update
  3. Localized annual plan 2024

Know the basics

AddressSwitzerland Tourism
480 University Ave.
Suite 1500
Toronto, ON M5G 1V2
Market ManagerOliver Weibel, Director Canada
Contact

LinkedIn
+1 647-417-7438
oliver.weibel@switzerland.com
www.linkedin.com/in/oliver-weibel-91352628/
Media / PRLaura Fairweather,
Media Relations Project Manager Canada
Contact

LinkedIn
+1 647 294-4687
laura.fairweather@switzerland.com
https://www.linkedin.com/in/laurafairweather/

Research and reports

  • ST market research page –– here
  • ST Research Report 2023 –– Download here
  • ST TMS 2017 –– Download here

Market activities

Last updated: 13/07/2024 by CrS

Market update and reporting of finalized activities 2023

Click here for an overview slide for each finalized activity in the current year.

Localized annual plan 2024

Last updated: 23/01/2024 by ow

Market Situation

In 2024, Canada has a relatively stable political climate under the leadership of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Elected for a second term in 2021, Trudeau’s is expected to finish his term in 2025. His administration is focusing on key policy areas that are crucial to Canada’s future. These include addressing the housing crisis through a significant federal investment, notably a C$4 billion fund dedicated to accelerating the construction of homes in 2024. Alongside housing, environmental issues and fostering economic growth in a sustainable manner are high on the government’s agenda this year.

Politically, the Conservative Party under Pierre Poilievre’s leadership is gaining traction, creating a more competitive political environment for the upcoming election 2025.  Canada’s economic situation is reasonably stable. The country manages modest economic growth while addressing inflationary pressures and high-interest rates. The Bank of Canada’s efforts in managing inflation are expected to bring inflation rates down to more comfortable levels by late 2024. In terms of immigration, Canada is setting ambitious targets, planning to welcome 485,000 new permanent residents in 2024. This move is part of a strategy to address labor shortages and stimulate economic growth, representing about 1.2% of the country’s population.

From an outside perspective, Canada remains independent on most natural resources – essential foods, minerals, gas, and oil – as well as the democratic and friend-shoring political path is putting them globally in a favorable position.  Canada has strong partnerships within the USA and Europe. Internationally, a political risk come from the U.S. elections in November 2024, which could impact the economic outlook.

Economy

Canada’s economic situation is projected to be a mix of challenges and gradual recovery. The economy is expected to return to growth with potential interest rate cuts. However, this growth is predicted to be modest, with a forecast of around 0.9% in GDP for 2024.
This subdued growth reflects a period of weaker GDP growth and a situation where households are likely to cut back on discretionary spending to prioritize debt payments. The squeeze from fixed-rate mortgage renewals is expected to significantly drag the economy. In depth – the main source markets for Switzerland are forecasted to have a real GDP growth of Ontario (+0.5% real GDP), Québec (+0.4%) and British Columbia (+0.3), Alberta (+1,2%) in 2024.

Inflation, which saw a resurgence in 2023 to 3.8%, is expected to average around 2.6% in 2024. The Bank of Canada is projected to start reducing interest rates „sometime“ in 2024, these rate cuts are anticipated in response to months of sustained progress in core inflation metrics. However the Canadian housing market and consumer spending are critical components of the economic forecast. With the Bank of Canada nearing the end of its rate hike cycle, the pressure on household balance sheets is expected to subside

The unemployment rate in 2024 is projected to be marginally higher than in 2023, averaging around 6.5%. This anticipated increase in unemployment is primarily attributed to a slower pace of hiring, coupled with Canada’s accelerated immigration and population growth, rather than a significant rise in layoffs.

Travel industry

The travel industry in Canada has proven to be resilient and has seen a big comeback from the pandemic. The number of travel agents working within Canada is still slightly lower compared to the pre-pandemic level. Still, it will hardly regain the same size due to operational adjustments during the pandemic and with technological developments such as AI technology for the planning phase of trips. The travel sector has fully recovered in revenue and bookings, and the players offering Switzerland within their portfolio have increased their revenue with products to Switzerland. The major players within Canada are selling to the whole North American Market, including the United States and Canada. The travel agencies remain vital for luxury travels, cruises, and multi-destination trips within Europe and specialized Switzerland experts.

Responding to strong demand, Edelweiss Air is increasing direct connections to Canada. Vancouver will enjoy daily flights over the summer, while Calgary will benefit from up to three weekly flights. Additionally, SWISS International Airlines will offer a non-stop service between Zurich and Toronto, operated five times weekly – offering greater flexibility and choice for travelers during summer. 40% of travelers indicate that the cost of flights also determines their destination of travel.

Despite challenges such as high interest rates and a strong Swiss Franc, the Canadian travel industry sees a strong year ahead, as 79% of Canadian travelers plan to take the same number, if not more, of trips abroad in 2024. Europe remains a popular destination, and Switzerland will remain a bucket-list item to visit for luxury travelers, active/adventure travelers, and experience seekers. Currently, 1% of the Canadian population is visiting Switzerland, and we expect to retain the overnight stays for 2024.

Travel behavior

The travel behavior of Canadians towards Switzerland has evolved slightly. Group travel remains a popular mode of exploration, but there’s a noticeable shift towards smaller group sizes and more individualized travel experiences. Canadians are increasingly seeking unique travel opportunities and combinations of different locations. In 2023, four out of the top five travel destinations were major Swiss cities – Zurich, Geneva, Lucerne, and Basel. However, a significant growth in overnight stays, over 20% compared to 2019, was observed in the Swiss mountain regions, highlighting their all-season appeal. The shoulder seasons, like September, are gaining popularity, with 2023 marking a record in overnight stays for that month.

Culinary experiences are a significant motivator for Canadian travelers, with many prioritizing food-related activities, including trips focused on specific restaurants or local gastronomic exploration. The trend towards seeking off-the-beaten-path destinations continues to grow, as travelers look for authentic, personalized experiences that allow for deeper cultural, historical, and natural immersion, often extending their stays in the country.

Bucket-list travel is increasingly prominent among Canadians, with a focus on unique, once-in-a-lifetime experiences, such as train travel through Switzerland’s scenic routes. This aligns with the growing preference for sustainable travel options and the use of technology for planning and executing trips.

Luxury and convenience remain important for Canadian travelers. This is evident in their preference for high-quality experiences, including upgrades to business or first-class flights, five-star hotels, private transfers, and guided tours, underlining their desire for premium travel experiences.

Personas

The Canadian market focuses primarily on the personas Kris, Max and Pat. Find more information about the personas here.  

Key Performance Indicators

Final 2023Budget 2024
Bed nights hotels302’032308’979
Turnover Total (CHF)
Growth 2022 – 2023+ 11,8%+ 2,3 %
Campaigning & Activation*
·      Top-Marketing Contacts448’397’264220’000’000
·      Customer reactions737’928540’000
·      Tracked Sessions on MyS.com per year3’105’8133’000’000
·      Bouncing Rate on MyS.com
·      Engagement Rate on MyS.com48,8%49.0%
·      Engagement Rate on Social Media0.45%0.45%
Media work (KMM)*
·      Top-Coverage articles179150
·      Top-Coverage media contacts519’522’947520’000’000
·      Qualified Interactions with KMM1’1581’200
Trade (KAM)*
·      Influenced overnight with tour operators373’148360’000
·      Influenced revenue with tour operators104’481’440100’800’000
·      Specific group and FIT packages263270
·      Qualified Interactions with KAM4’0484’000
·      Meetings: RFP’s196210
·      Influenced revenue business events9’370’95311’655’000
·      Qualified Interactions with business accounts1’6931’700
Partner cooperations
·      Investments tourism partners1’665’2581’665’258
* numbers incl. USA