Interview: Switzerland's Jungfrau expects more Chinese tourists, says CEO of Jungfrau Railways

(Xinhua) 08:36, August 25, 2021

GENEVA, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- The Jungfrau Region in Switzerland is looking forward to receiving more Chinese tourists, said Jungfrau Railways CEO Urs Kessler during a recent interview with Xinhua.

A well-known scenic spot and snow sports resort, the Jungfrau Region is located in central Switzerland. At 4,158 meters above sea level, it is one of the main summits of the Bernese Alps. Its beautiful glaciers and snow scenes attract tourists from all over the world, and in 2001, UNESCO listed the Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch as a World Heritage Site.

In recent years, Kessler said, Jungfrau Railways has received a large number of Chinese tourists, especially in 2019 before the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic.

Jungfrau Railways offers an important means of transportation for tourists. Construction began on the pioneering project in 1896, and was completed in 1912. With a total length of 9.3 kilometers, the last station on the line, Jungfraujoch -- Top of Europe -- is 3,454 meters above sea level, making it the highest railway station in Europe.

According to the company's annual report of 2019, for the fourth time in its history Jungfrau Railways has attracted over a million visitors to the Jungfraujoch. "Strong demand from Asia contributed to high visitor numbers at the Jungfraujoch. 1.056 million visitors travelled to the Top of Europe in 2019."

Kessler first visited China in 1996 to introduce Chinese tourists to the Jungfrau Region. The number of Chinese tourists visiting the Jungfrau was very limited at that time, he said.

The name of Jungfrau means maiden or virgin. Kessler said: "We are very happy that we have a such a nice name, Jungfrau Shaonvfeng. It's easy to spell and it helps a lot in the Chinese market."

Kessler said that since 1996, the number of Chinese tourists visiting the Jungfrau has been rising rapidly. According to statistics from the Interlaken Tourist Office, in 2011, 765,000 tourists visited the Jungfrau, of which more than 70,000 were from Chinese mainland. "In 2019, this number (of Chinese tourists) has at least doubled, if not tripled!" Kessler said.

To Kessler, China means much more than business relations. In 2002, the Jungfrau signed a sister-mountain relationship with Huangshan.

In order to meet the needs of Chinese tourists, Jungfrau Railways launched a website in Chinese. It also hired staff who speak Chinese, and the company has a special Jungfrau tour package for Chinese tourists, which combines sightseeing with snow sports such as sledding, hiking and skiing.

The Jungfrau region is an important snow sports base, and in 2018, the Chinese national hockey team went to the Jungfrau region for training. As a ski enthusiast, Kessler is looking forward to the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, and hopes to be there to watch the games. The Winter Olympics will boost the Chinese people's enthusiasm for snow sports, he said, and hopefully bring more Chinese tourists to the Jungfrau. 

(Web editor: Xia Peiyao, Liang Jun)


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