"A strong opportunity for the image of the canton of Vaud to be presented on a global stage"

The Canton de Vaud, including the Vaud Alps, will be the epicenter of Lausanne 2020. We asked Andreas Banholzer, Executive Director Tourism Office, Canton de Vaud, to what extent the Winter Youth Olympic Games are in line with their objectives.

In January 2020, about 2,000 young people and their families, coming from over 80 countries, will discover the canton of Vaud and its winter sports offer. How do you plan to maximise this opportunity to promote the Canton?

Above all, these games are a strong opportunity for the image of the canton of Vaud to be presented on a global stage. Of course, we have already started to communicate this, to create an expectation. We talk about this opportunity in our different markets, in the media, and use the Games to promote winter sports throughout the region. Hosting the 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games is a real chance to showcase our top-class infrastructures and their qualities. This is a strong differentiating element for us, on which we rely in our communication. We hope we will be able to benefit from this brand image on a long term basis.

The Canton has had a very special relationship with Olympism for over a century. In 2020, the Olympic flame will be lit in Vaud for the first time: What does it mean for the future of this relationship?

The IOC, the sports federations, the Olympic Museum and even the metro stop "Ouchy Olympique" - the State of Vaud lives and breathes Olympism. By hosting the Winter Youth Olympic Games, an additional step is taken: the Olympic Capital will become an Olympic City! This special relationship will be strengthened by the YOG, and will be even more deeply rooted in the identity of the canton itself. From a tourist point of view, this will make a key differentiating element and will enable us to promote our region as a unique destination in the world.

From a more practical and commercial view, you, alongside Lausanne 2020 and Lausanne Tourism, will be present at the largest Chinese winter sports fair at the end of the year in Beijing. What is your objective by doing so?

We are seeing a very large movement towards winter sports in China. Beijing will host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, and the Chinese government is strongly encouraging people to discover and practice these sports. It is therefore a unique opportunity to position ourselves as a prestigious winter sport destination, reflecting on key assets such as the proximity of the lake, the cities, the resorts, and the airport. Olympism has a very positive image in China, and we want to focus on Lausanne 2020 to differentiate ourselves and create an emotional bond with our potential visitors.