Jungfraujoch - Top of Europe
Business Model and Environment
The Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe business segment is the strategic hub of the company. The main attraction is the highest railway station in Europe. It is located at 3,454 metres above sea level, within the Swiss Alpine Jungfrau-Aletsch UNESCO World Heritage site. Visitors can experience a high-Alpine world amidst imposing mountain peaks, glaciers and snow. The cogwheel railway from Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald to the high-Alpine meeting point at Kleine Scheidegg continues through the massifs of Eiger (3,970m above sea level) and Mönch (4,108m above sea level) and is regarded by tourists around the world as among the most important tourist attractions in Switzerland. The International High Alpine Jungfraujoch and Gornergrat Research Station Foundation contributes to the attractiveness of Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe through its presence and research results. The importance of the segment, which includes the Top of Europe Shops, can be seen from the segment’s sales of CHF 149.8 million. Sales are distributed among Jungfrau Gasgronomie AG, Jungfraubahn AG and Wengernalpbahn AG (information on the subsidiaries can be found in the Financial Report).
Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe is a comprehensive natural experience that is marketed as a vertically integrated, all-in-one package. Only a few supplementary and ancillary services are added as partner services (e.g. alpinism, Snow Fun and Mönchsjochhütte tours). After the complete integration of catering on the Kleine Scheidegg at the end of 2017, catering on the Jungfraujoch and the Eigergletscher was integrated at the end of 2019. Jungfraujoch is open 365 days a year. To ensure quality, the number of visitors is limited and a seat reservation system ensures a high level of travel comfort.
Market Assessment Based on Results
The 2019 financial year was very successful. For the fourth time in the history of the Jungfrau Railway, more than one million guests visited Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe. With a 2.7 per cent increase in average revenue, this resulted in transport revenue of CHF 120.9 million. Excursion traffic to Jungfraujoch - Top of Europe also benefited from the diversification of markets, with business tour operators remaining particularly important despite the growing number of individual guests.
Market development in Asia continues to enjoy high priority, as the aim is to maintain the high level of previous years. However, further growth is subject to certain limits. For this reason, capacity utilisation in the off-season (“twelve-month peak season”) is being promoted and the V-Cableway is being implemented, significantly shortening journey times to the Jungfraujoch. The aim is to offer guests an individually tailored and flexible travel experience. This will have a positive effect on the distribution of frequencies throughout the day.
The integration of the catering businesses along our main axis to the Jungfraujoch follows the strategy of an integrated tourism enterprise and seeks to offer guests a vertically integrated excursion programme including catering services. Two years ago the first business, Bergrestaurant Kleine Scheidegg, was transferred to Jungfrau Gastronomie AG. On 1 November 2019, the group assumed operation of the dining facilities on the Jungfraujoch and the Eigergletscher. In total, we achieved sales of CHF 5.7 million from the catering business.
The Jungfrau Railway Group is constantly expanding its souvenir business section. October of 2019 saw the opening of the new Top of Europe flagship store in Interlaken. Here the guests do not only receive valuable information and tickets for a trip with Jungfrau Railways – they can also choose the ideal gift from a wide range of souvenirs and Swiss specialities. The flagship store in Interlaken complements the Top of Europe shops on the Jungfraujoch, Kleine Scheidegg and First. Further shops will follow in the Grund terminal in 2020. In 2019, the Top of Europe shops generated sales of CHF 8.8 million.
Business Model and Environment
The Jungfrau Ski Region is a partnership product in which the Jungfrau Railway Group holds more than 60 per cent. Twelve companies form the Jungfrau Ski Region fare network, which covers the sub-areas of Grindelwald-First, Kleine Scheidegg-Männlichen and Mürren-Schilthorn. Snow sports enthusiasts can use their equipment for the entire destination with their subscription. This skiing region with over one million skiers (the full 2018-2019 winter season) is one of the largest in Switzerland.
The Jungfrau Ski Region earns approximately half of its winter sports income from visitors on winter holidays in the area. The region distinguishes itself internationally with an incomparable nature experience and a varied range of slopes with a variety of long valley runs. The ski areas are directly accessible from the historic holiday resorts of Grindelwald, Wengen and Mürren. The region occupies a leading position with its winter hiking and sledging offerings.
Day trippers, who make up the other half of the winter sports customers, are more focused on the sporting activities. This results in a need to ensure the quality of the slopes and the capacities of the feeder systems and transport routes (e.g. parking). There remains a strong focus on children. The Kids Ride Free on Saturdays promotion was used 12,288 times in the winter of 2018/2019. The Jungfrau Ski Region has also taken part in the Kids4free campaign by Switzerland Tourism, which aims to get families and children excited about skiing.
Jungfrau Railways is the specialist for feeder systems and service facilities, slopes and fun parks in the ski area. The remaining parts of the value chain are covered only partially or in cooperation with other providers. We promote the rental of equipment in a joint venture with local sports retailers (Intersport Rent Network). We thus work in close partnership within the regional economy and with hoteliers, retailers and local tourism organisations.
Market Assessment Based on Results
The number of ski visitors ‑in the winter season 2018/2019 increased over the entire Jungfrau Ski Region by 8.4 per cent compared to the previous year, i.e. to 1,069,500. The one million mark was thus exceeded for the first time since 2013. For the balance sheet of the Jungfrau Railway Group, this resulted in transport revenue of 23.5 million Swiss francs from winter sports trade.
In the highly competitive and saturated winter sports market, destinations with guaranteed snow, good quality, varied pistes and high standards in their offerings enjoy a solid position. New offerings and price models can counter the trend towards short-termism and spontaneity. At the same time, however, offerings that bind customers early on or for a longer period of time are becoming increasingly important. This is due to the fact that the Jungfrau Ski Region has merged with the major ski areas of the Bernese Oberland and launched a season pass (666 Swiss francs) which is very inexpensive when purchased in advance. By offering such a ticket for the entire season, demand is decoupled from the factors that influence short-term purchases. As a concession to the customer to the effect that they bear the risk of weather-related restrictions on use, a discount of one third of the normal price is granted. In the third season, 42,198 people purchased a subscription at the advance sales price of 666 francs – again an increase on the previous season (38,000 sales). The partners involved have agreed to also offer a “season ticket” for the 2020/2021 winter sports season. They will however raise the price for adults to CHF 777; the prices for children and young people will remain unchanged. This increase is explained by the investments of all participating ski resorts in new facilities and in quality improvements.
The winter sports business with holiday guests is less volatile, and therefore of high value. To promote this or to keep up with the worldwide quality standard, the integration of tourism services must be constantly improved. As a traditional provider of transport services and pistes, the Jungfrau Railway Group pays particular attention to completing the value chain. In this context – as an integrated tourism company – we are expanding our range of activities in the value chain with the new V-Cableway terminal, namely by improving ski storage, rental, ski school and catering services for winter sports enthusiasts.
The Jungfrau Ski Region benefits from the unique backdrop of the Bernese Alps and the opportunities for international excursion tourism to also make increasing use of the feeder lifts in winter. The new 3S Cableway from Grindelwald to the highest point of the ski area – an element of the V-Cableway project – is designed for this mixed use.
The Start of 2020
Winter sport trade continues to be challenging. Despite inclement weather, the number of visitors to the Jungfrau Ski Region from 1 January to 29 February 2020 increased by 4.9 percent compared to the same period the previous year. Jungfrau Railways is committed to continuous quality improvement. For example, the V-Cableway project will massively reduce travel times and provide a direct connection to public transport. On 13 December 2019, the new 10-seater Grindelwald-Männlichen aerial gondola and Bernese Oberland Railway’s new Grindelwald Terminal station celebrated their opening. For our winter sports guests, this means a shorter journey time and greater comfort.
Business Model and Environment
The Experience Mountains are a strategic ancillary offering. They are constantly gaining in importance. In the 2019 financial year, they generated 15 per cent of Group sales. The mountain railways and the adventure worlds, some of which are specially created and maintained by the railways, form a solid basis for the local tourism industry and the agriculture networked with it. They thus create added value for the entire region by delivering a reason to stay longer in the area, to stay overnight, or to take a traditional sports and hiking holiday. In the sustainably strengthened, correspondingly intact and lively environment, our primary Jungfraujoch - Top of Europe offering can also be positioned even more successfully.
The Experience Mountains segment includes the following attractions:
• Grindelwald-First, Top of Adventure
• Harder Kulm, Top of Interlaken
• Winteregg-Mürren, Top of Family
The Jungfrau Railway Group supplements its offer with the following partnerships: Kleine Scheidegg Eigergletscher (from the Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe segment), Schynige Platte Railway (a railway run by the alliance partner Berner Oberland-Bahnen AG), Grindelwald-Männlichen Aerial Gondola (holding of 35.5 per cent), the Wengen–Männlichen Aerial Cableway and Grindelwald Bus. The multi-day Jungfrau Travel Pass is available as a connecting factor. This opens up the wide range of excursion destinations for guests and is valid for up to six consecutive days.
Market Assessment Based on Results
The Jungfrau Railway Group once again registered record results for all Experience Mountains, including the excursion traffic to Harder Kulm, First and Winteregg-Mürren. Transport revenue again rose significantly with a total increase of 21.1 per cent. The Harderbahn achieved an increase in transport revenue of a further 18.8 per cent, while the Firstbahn recorded an even stronger increase of 27.2 per cent. And the Lauterbrunnen-Mürren Mountain Railway achieved an increase of 8.6 percent. At CHF 25.0 million, total transport revenue from the Experience Mountains was CHF 4.3 million higher than in the previous year.
Thanks to good visibility from the centre and the short travel time, the Harder has established itself as an absolute must for every visitor to Interlaken, opening up markets outside the region. The fact that the Experience Mountains continue to develop positively is because they actively take advantage of greater trends towards sporting and leisure activities in open nature. With the First Cliff Walk, the two First Flyer and First Glider Aerial Adventure Zip Wires, the Mountain Carts and the Trottibikes, the First Railway is able to successfully position itself in the soft adventure sector, accessible to everyone. Winteregg is constantly strengthening its attractions for the family and has a unique attraction for ambitious bikers with a free-ride route.
The Experience Mountains continue to expand their successful offerings in the outdoor and soft adventure sector. At First, for example, work is being done on zoning principles aimed at adding a vantage platform to the range of services on offer.
Weather also plays an important role in terms of demand in this segment. However, in terms of meteorological conditions, the segment’s products are positioned very favourably and combinations with the other segments can also be offered. This good configuration suggests that the company will continue to grow.
The power plant supports the independence of the Jungfrau Railway Group in one of its most important resources – energy – and provides energy supply services. With an annual production of around 61.5 gigawatt hours (GWh), the result for 2019 is positive. Energy sales (which exceed production of 61.5 GWh due to trading) total 75.1 GWh, which represents a slight decrease (down 2.9 per cent) compared to 2018.
Thanks to its location at the railway junction, the Lauterbrunnen multi-storey car park is the central point for transfers between individual transport and the car-free resorts of Mürren and Wengen; it is accordingly well positioned. During the reporting year, car park use was 67.5% on average, which represents a decrease of 0.8% compared to the previous year. Rental income reached CHF 2.4 million in 2019.
Jungfraubahnen Management AG
Jungfraubahn Holding AG holds Jungfraubahnen Management AG for the provision of the management infrastructure and the services of specialist and support areas. The most important asset of this company is the central IT infrastructure of Jungfrau Railways. The compensation of CHF 5.7 million which Jungfraubahnen Management AG receives from third parties for corresponding services results from cost keys (particularly in partnership with the Berner Oberland-Bahnen AG) and direct charging of services. Increasingly, this company is also generating commission income from online sales, especially of tickets.