The luxury real estate agency based in Ticino, with offices in Lugano, Locarno and Ascona, is quite established among ambitious and demanding clients who are looking for the best places to live and work in different parts of the world.
The owners of Wetag Consulting talk about Ticino, Russians in Switzerland and why the south of Switzerland is so appealing. We talk to company owner Uli Schnorf, who moved to Ticino himself from Zurich more than 20 years ago.
- Who are your clients and what are their needs?
- 75% of our clients are from abroad and most come to us in search of the most suitable home for them personally here in Ticino.
- WETAG, the exclusive representative of Christie's International Real Estate, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World and Luxury Portfolio in Ticino, has won many international awards for its work. Isn't that the key to your success?
- A good name is certainly a guarantee of quality, but our success is based on other factors. It is, of course, our real experience, and we have been in business for several decades, and most importantly, we are always up to date with global trends. To prove this, Philippe Peter, Uli Schnorff's business partner, lays a glossy VILLAE magazine on the table. The real estate on offer from Wetag is presented on these pages. - Villae is published by EREN, a European real estate network which brings together high-end real estate professionals from nine European countries. Wetag is the co-founder of EREN and Uli has been its president for many years. Philippe Peter was born in Vienna and grew up in Ticino. For 24 years he has been an international professional racer. - I have lived and worked in Japan, the United States and many other countries. That way you can make connections and learn the local realities that are important to our foreign clients - and that's exactly why they consider us reliable.
- We were going to talk about Russians and Ticino?
- Good! Do names like Orel, Tver and Vinnitsa mean anything to you? Mr Schnorf told us how a couple of years ago he drove his S.U.V. from Switzerland to the Ukraine, past Odessa, Kiev, and into Russia, where he visited Moscow, Novgorod, and St. Petersburg - and not in the main streets. - Year by year the number of Russian clients grows. Looking at Moscow from the windows of a luxury hotel is one thing, but exploring the country and getting to know its people personally is something fundamentally different.
- What about now? Is Ticino of interest to Russians?
- Well, here are the numbers! In 2005, Ticino was visited by 7,800 Russians, and in 2015 the number has doubled, to about 16,000. Now more than a thousand Russian and Ukrainian families live in Ticino. There are about 150 registered trading companies, partly or wholly owned by Russians. The majority of our Russian clients prefer Ticino to any other corner of Switzerland.
- Why do you think so, Mr Peter?
- Nature, forest, lakes, fresh air, clean water. Many Russians say that it is these characteristics of Ticino that have influenced their decision. One of the most important arguments in favour of Ticino is that it is only a 15-minute drive from the city to the countryside.
- Mr Schnorf, why do you think Ticino is the most family-friendly region in Switzerland?
- Surveys conducted amongst Swiss people on their perception of the various regions show that Ticino is not only the most beautiful place in Switzerland. It is also one of the most family-friendly areas, particularly for families with children. Nature and infrastructure are decisive factors in this area. And of course the education system plays a role. There are schools and several universities. The location of Lake Lugano is very convenient. The University of Applied Sciences and Arts South Switzerland (SUPSI), the public school in Frantières, and the TASIS*** are awarding diplomas and degrees, which are recognised abroad. As far as educational institutions are concerned, the Lake Geneva region with its closed boarding schools and Zurich with its world-class universities are still a step ahead. Wetag Consulting can help you find a luxury home or apartment in Ticino
- How significant do you think the issue of security and privacy is for Russian clients?
- Many families point out that these points are extremely important for their decision. It is well known that in Ticino one can live and move around in public space freely and with complete peace of mind. One sometimes finds it hard to believe that children can go to school and other places on their own, without bodyguards.
- Mr Schnorff touches on the popular topic of shopping and the luxury industry. Why does it raise a smile?
- The stereotype of the Russian woman being great at fashion is unquestionable, for the most part we are convinced of that over and over again. And what could be better than living in a place where the fashion capital of the world, Milan, is only about an hour away!
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