25 May 2018


New horizons in the travel industry?

Long journeys, all kinds of clothing, and large amounts of luggage: that’s what long-distance travel was like about 100 years ago. Today, travel is simpler, more affordable, and more global. The challenges facing companies in this arena today were the topic of discussion at the Victorinox Round Table on May 23, 2018, featuring Martin Nydegger, Swiss Tourism Director; Bernhard Christen, Marketing Director at Swiss International Air Lines; and Carsten Kulcke, Product Manager at Victorinox. Jan Bollmann, publisher of Transhelvetica magazine, led the discussion.

Travel has expanded dramatically since Swissair was founded. In 1931, long-distance air travel was both a luxury and purgatory at the same time, since such long trips involved bringing vast amounts of clothing and thus equally vast amounts of luggage. Today, travel is simpler, more affordable, and more global. If you feel like taking a break, you pack your carry-on and take off.

“These developments have had a major impact on customers’ luggage needs”, confirms Carsten Kulcke, responsible for travel gear at Victorinox. “We are seeing new phenomena emerge, such as today’s trend of using carry-on luggage for longer periods, with travelers asking themselves: how long can I travel with just my hand luggage?” This, in turn, creates new requirements for things like packing volume and weight, or special functions such as a USB connection, reflecting the need for customers to stay connected, whenever and wherever they happen to be. But today’s customers also expect their needs to be met when it comes to design and customization. “These are the kinds of topics that we at Victorinox are now looking at very closely”, adds Kulcke.

Martin Nydegger, Director of Swiss Tourism, echoes these sentiments: “The global travel industry is growing by 3.8% annually and it will continue to grow.” This means more flights, more mobility, and more accommodation providers. “We are seeing a trend in Switzerland where more and more Swiss people choose to vacation in their own country. What’s more, vacations are becoming increasingly mobile, with people moving from place to place much more.” This is why luggage and luggage transport play a huge role in the modern tourism industry.

And how is the airline industry developing? “Flying is already much more affordable today and this trend will continue”, Bernhard Christen, Marketing Director at Swiss International Air Lines, adds to the round-table discussion. “Fuel consumption can be reduced through more fuel-efficient engines and lighter aircraft that can also handle longer flights, and this in turn will impact the cost of flights.” In addition, airlines such as SWISS are being called upon to find solutions to the problem of congestion at airports. “Airports, such as Zurich, have few available options to expand. If we can offer travelers the opportunity to check in their luggage in their own home, this will not only free up airport capacities, but will also take guest comfort to a whole new level.”