Ticino in Southern Switzerland gets its own MICE structure

The canton of Ticino (also called Tessin) launched at the end of April the Ticino Convention Bureau with the task to promote and foster business tourism into Switzerland most southern Canton. Local authorities see the positioning of Ticino as ideal for MICE events as it combines Switzerland efficiency with a Mediterranean flair.

The Ticino Convention Bureau officially kicked off on April 21, 2023 as a competence centre for all kind of MICE activities and business travel in the Italian-spoken part of Switzerland.

With this strategic touristic project, Ticino Turismo – the official tourism agency of the Canton, the four Regional Tourism Organizations and the major cities in the Canton, with the support of the Cantonal Office for economic development, aim to give additional boost to the development of business tourism in Switzerland’s southernmost region. Ticino is the only canton in the Swiss Confederation with Italian as its major language and a strong Italian-oriented culture. This is for authorities a considerable asset for the promotion to MICE organisers.

Business tourism to Switzerland has recovered strongly since the beginning of 2022 – despite the increasing use of digital communication platforms. With the Ticino Convention Bureau, the goal is to position the canton among the top six destinations in the business travel sector in Switzerland. In 2022, some 1.3 million arrivals were recorded in the Canton.

At a press conference last April, State Councillor and Director of the Finance and and Economic Department (DFE), Christian Vitta, emphasised that the Ticino Convention Bureau, which is supported by the Office for Economic Promotion of the Department of Economic Affairs, will help the canton to become even more competitive in the field of congress and business tourism. The MICE sector accounted for around 20% of all overnight stays in Italian-spoken Switzerland before the pandemic.

Ticino in Southern Switzerland gets its own MICE structure
The pictorial city of Morcote (Photo: Robin Ulrich for Unsplash)

Meanwhile, the canton sees the “de-seasonalisation” of tourism demand as a strong trump to market the Canton to high-spending business travellers. It would particularly help increasing demand and occupancy rate in hotels and MICE structures in the periods of March to June as well as September to November.

The MICE clientele is also particularly interesting for Ticino as it stimulates the tourism sector to invest in quality tourism products. MICE events generate a very high spending budget while looking for ultra-modern facilities and rooms equipped with the latest technology. For Angelo Trotta, director of Ticino Turismo, “the combination of work and leisure (bleisure and workation) are on the rise. We are entering an age of new forms of work. In an increasingly fragmented, multi-layered and diversified working world, incentive and team-building trips will gain in importance.”

Samuel Righetti, coordinator of the Ticino Convention Bureau, emphasised that “the new structure makes it possible to share and improve the knowledge and skills of professionals who have been working in the sector for years, with the aim of bringing more corporate events to Ticino. Target markets are classical segments of business tourism, such as meetings, incentives, congresses, exhibitions and events, but also weddings and private celebrations. Marketing activities will first target Switzerland. However it will not exclude an opportune positioning of the destination internationally.”

MICE organisers who contact the Ticino Convention Bureau will benefit from a range of services, from simple technical advice on MICE facilities and activities in the canton to event planning and organisation by specialised agencies.

The new website of the convention bureau lists all the venues able to welcome MICE Events. Some 200 sites are for example listed as venues including not only large convention centres such as in Lugano, Locarno or Bellinzona but also hotels, restaurants, museums, theatres and cinemas or university campus.

New incentive ideas are also suggested on the website including fun sports activities, interesting technical visits, excursions surrounded by Ticino stunning landscapes or workshops of wine and food tasting or a cruise on one of Ticino’s lakes or aboard of an vintage train. Ticino has a lot to offer with perfect temperatures at any time, any season…

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