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CERN tours: more popular than ever

According to TripAdvisor, CERN is Geneva’s top tourist attraction, welcoming almost 110,000 visitors per year


The Visits Service received a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for the quality of its tours. From left: Marc Tassera, Carole Ledoux, Vanya Guerre, Bernard Pellequer, Dominique Bertola, Yesika Romand, Chloé Pillonel, Alejandra Lorenzo Gomez. (Image: Jacques Herve Fichet/CERN)

Since the start-up of the LHC in 2008 and the discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012, CERN’s visitor numbers have gone through the roof. On 15 July, we hit a record number of 755 visitors in one day (the average is around 400 per day). “This peak can partly be explained by the presence of participants in the International Physics Olympiad,” says Bernard Pellequer, head of the Visitors and Local Engagement section. “A tour of CERN was part of their excursion programme and it was a great pleasure for us to show them around the Laboratory.”

But CERN tours are not just for physics buffs: CERN has been listed on the TripAdvisor site since 2012, and at present tops the charts of both the 24 tours and the 28 museums listed for Geneva. CERN has also just received a 2016 Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor in recognition of the quality of its tours and the service it provides to visitors.

Over 760 comments have been posted on the TripAdvisor site, mostly with a rating of ‘Excellent’ or ‘Very good’,” enthuses Bernard Pellequer. “These comments are a very useful tool for the Visits Service, as they help us to identify our audience and to respond to their expectations.” With this in mind, the Visits Service has introduced individual guided tours, which are proving to be a great success: every morning the tour slots are fully booked in less than 5 minutes.