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Switzerland: A business hub

Switzerland: A business hub

Our World | On 03, Aug 2011

Hopefully last week’s article illustrated that Switzerland has multiple locations to host your event and a strong all year round infrastructure to ensure your events’ success.

Following on from this, Switzerland is also becoming a global base for many multinational organisations, making it not only a great European hub within international aviation (Zurich, Geneva and Basel are key international gateways), but also a principle meeting point for Europe, Asia and the Americas. Many large multinationals in the last few years have set up or moved their European Headquarters to Switzerland.  There must be something said for this, after all, it does house the International Olympic Headquarters and Olympic Museum in Lausanne (where incidentally, we had our Gala Dinner).

Large corporations such as McDonald’s, Nissan, Kraft Foods, Yahoo & Google have either moved all or part of their European business to Switzerland.  For example, McDonalds Europe moved to Geneva in late 2009 to take advantage of the favourable intellectual property tax laws as well as the very highly skilled workforce Switzerland had to offer (they were previously split between London and Paris). It has been said that many other companies have jumped on the band wagon to escape the EU tax laws and have found Switzerland as a strong contender for their European business.  Switzerland has one of the lowest VAT rates worldwide at 8%, and did you know, this can be claimed back by meeting planners within a month from the end of your conference in a relatively easy procedure?

Furthermore, the security and reassurance Switzerland has to offer, not only politically but economically gives many multinationals peace of mind on the fundamentals us as meeting planners require such as reliability, punctuality and quality. Sure, this comes at a price, but such professional expertise in all areas guarantees a high return.  There are deals to be had in low season, so as long as you have the flexibility and time to plan your event, you could get a lot in return for your Swiss Franc.

Reinvestment within Switzerland is also a continual work in progress. No other country in the world invests as much per capita in basic research and new technology. Within the events arena it has so much to offer, from world class conference centres to internationals hotel chains, historic palaces to modern design phenomenons. Adding to that the diversity in languages and hospitality training also ensures that service levels are second to none.

So before you think of Switzerland as a destination just for great après-ski and little bit of raclette or fondue – consider it for your next event. Milking cows aside, it can offer everything you need for a high quality event and more often than not, there is a venue to suit any budget and any brief.

Pia Zeyss