Kursaal, Bern

World-class and diverse: the charming MICE Region of Bern

The Region of Bern is much more than the political centre of Switzerland: thanks to its central location, it is also a key location for business. The Swiss Economic Forum which attracts over 1200 decision-makers from small and large companies to Interlaken annually attests to this in no uncertain terms. The diversity of the Region is similarly one of its attractions, as is the legendary Bernese way of being so laid-back.

The hub and main draw in Region of Bern is the federal capital: it is the seat of the federal government, a university town and an economic powerhouse all rolled into one. But Bern also takes on an important bridging role, by extending right through the centre of the cantonal region known as the "Röstigraben", the border between German-speaking and French-speaking Switzerland. Bilingualism is a further trump card of the Region of Bern and one that is also firmly established in its education policies. In terms of area, the canton of Bern is the second largest canton in Switzerland after Graubünden. And on the population table, it is also in second place after Zurich.


Something for everyone

From a secluded business hotel through to a convention centre in the heart of the bustling city: the Region of Bern offers the entire gamut of venue types and locations and markets itself as a year-round destination for all manner of events. Four establishments immediately present themselves as ideally suited for major events and large congresses: the Kursaal Bern, the Congress Kursaal Interlaken, the Congress Centre Biel and the KK Thun. For meetings, retreats and seminars, smaller elegant business hotels like the Hotel Spitzhorn in the Saanenland, the Sunstar Grindelwald and the luxurious Lenkerhof in the Simmental then come to the fore. As you would expect, the supporting leisure activities are just as diverse as the locations. For the more adventurous at heart, River Rafting in Interlaken is the perfect activity, while those who prefer things at a more leisurely pace can learn the art of cocktail mixing at the Golfhotel Les Hauts de Gstaad. The Eiger Grand Prix is particularly team-building: colourful soap box racers are constructed by small groups and then tested for their roadworthiness in the concluding race. But enjoyment isn't given short shrift either: take for example the enthusiasm for Chillfood (cooking over an open fire in unusual places) and Skepping (sustainable cooking).


Drop down a gear

Although the described supporting activities might provide for adrenaline rushes, hectic activity and stress are actually strangers to the canton of Bern. And it all has to do with the renowned Bernese way of being a little laid-back. "Nume nid gsprängt, aber gäng echly hü" is what they utter here instead of "Don't rush, but also don't lose sight of your objective". The inhabitants of Bern have always been said to have a certain affinity with the heraldic animal, the bear. But what could cause a bear to become unsettled? The unhurriedness of the Bernese is certainly also because of the closeness of everything and the extremely good transport links within the canton. There is no better place in which to reach a destination quickly – and still arrive unfrazzled. The best way to get to a business meeting from the train station is to walk or hop on a tram. And the journey from the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site that is the city of Bern to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Bernese High Alps takes just one hour. This closeness to nature that allows you to relax and switch off after busy and mentally-taxing days of business meetings etc. should also be used.


The truly beautiful lies at your feet

The federal capital is the perfect place from which to take some time out in the fascinating Bernese mountains together with one's team or seminar participants. And a trip like this will do you no end of good. Stunning mountain panoramas will pass you by as you travel on board the BLS or Jungfrau Railways. But improving the extent of your farsightedness after a meeting can also be done within only ten minutes. The Gurten funicular in Bern, the Harder funicular in Interlaken and the Gelmer funicular in the Grimsel area will all take you up to vantage points that offer up totally new vistas. However you will need a good deal of courage for the Gelmer funicular which makes its way up the mountain directly opposite the Hotel Handeck. This former works railway belonging to the Oberhasli hydropower plants is the steepest, open funicular in Europe. Speed is certainly also one of the offerings on the Pfingstegg and at Lake Oeschinen. Both places give you the opportunity to whiz down towards the valley again on a toboggan run. It means that, not only will you reach these recreation areas in no time, but you'll also get back again quickly. The canton of Bern is also a doddle to reach for visitors from abroad: by air, train or car. Its central location within Switzerland and Europe is what makes all the difference.