In a bid to attract more Indian tourists to western Switzerland, a Swiss train company has temporarily named one of its trains after the Indian actor Ranveer Singh. The star, who is already an ambassador for Switzerland Tourism, was present at the ceremony in Zweisimmen on Monday.
The train of the MOB railway company (Compagnie du chemin de fer Montreux Oberland Bernois) on the Golden Pass line between Montreux on Lake Geneva and the upscale resort of Gstaad will carry Singh’s name until the end of October. The schedule and announcements will refer to the train as the Ranveer Singh train for the entire summer season.
The 32-year old actor is one of the highest paid stars in the Indian film industry. He is usually known for playing the romantic lead. However, his last film Padmaavat, based on a fictional tale involving a Hindu queen and a Muslim king (played by Singh) led to violent protests in India. The controversy generated by the film helped it become one of the biggest grossers in Hindi cinema.
“Ranveer hadn’t been to the Bernese Oberland or Lake Geneva region before and we wanted him to experience it. It is also a region that is not well known among Indian tourists and we hope the train will change that,” Switzerland Tourism spokesperson, Markus Berger told swissinfo.ch.
Switzerland Tourism had engaged the services of Singh in 2016 to boost the country’s visibility in the subcontinent. The objective was to convince more young Indians to visit the Alpine nation. For decades, the Alpine nation has lured Indian tourists thanks to free publicity in the form of films that showcased its landscape in song and dance sequences. However, this trend is waning resulting in fewer young Indians being exposed to Switzerland. This could present a problem in the future considering that around 60% of Indian visitors to the country are under 35 years old, according to the Swiss Hotel Association.
Singh is not the first Indian from show business to have a Swiss train named after him. In 2011, the Jungfrau Railways named one of their trains after the late film director and producer Yash Chopra – an honour shared only with the railway’s founder, Adolf Guyer. Chopra is widely credited with putting Switzerland on the Indian tourist radar with many of his films featuring a Swiss backdrop.