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Tourism of Switzerland

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“ Travel And Tourism of Switzerland”


It may be hard to believe but the famous white cross on a red background has only been the national flag of Switzerland since the 19th century. The origins of the flag, though, date back to 1339 and the historic Battle of Laupen, when Confederate soldiers began using the white cross as their field sign.
Switzerland evolved over many centuries from a loose alliance of small self-governing towns and states, beginning with the confederation of Uri, Schwyz and Nidwalden in 1291, to a fully-fledged federal state of 26 cantons.
Despite periods of political, social and religious unrest, unity prevailed in the Old Swiss Confederacy. However, the French invasion of 1798 was to be a turning point in the country’s history, ushering in the first of several changes in government – the short-lived Helvetic Republic – that would continue until 1848.
The birth of modern-day Switzerland was accompanied by the creation of a federal constitution that laid the permanent foundations for national cohesion and the pursuit of the common good, while upholding the country’s cultural and linguistic diversity Much of Switzerland’s landscape is covered by mountains – apparently inhospitable terrain for human habitation. And yet the routes across the Alpine and Jura mountain passes have brought in people and goods since prehistoric times. The Swiss Plateau, which stretches from Lake Geneva in the west to Lake Constance in the east, and includes the Alps, Jura and the River Rhine, was and continues to be the mostly densely populated area of the country. Since the High Middle Ages, various powers had sought to control these mountain passes, as they were part of a network of vital communication routes. However, the inaccessibility of mountain areas made it difficult for outsiders to impose their rule there, allowing the Swiss to develop their own traditions and forms of government
With few natural resources and little farming land at their disposal, the people of Switzerland historically relied on imports of agricultural and industrial goods, and services. Up until the 19th century, famine and extreme poverty forced many Swiss to emigrate in search of a better life.
Although most people still lived in the countryside, working the land, powerful towns and cities began to emerge during the Middle Ages thanks to a revival in trade and commerce. As they grew more powerful, these urban strongholds started to exert control over the neighbouring rural communities.
Each state (canton) naturally looked to its own interests, which sometimes meant cooperating with its neighbours and sometimes competing with them. Relations between urban and rural states were at times strained. Following the Reformation, it was religion that stirred up tensions, with conflict breaking out between some Catholic and Protestant cantons. Despite these clashes, which in certain instances bordered on full-scale war, the Old Swiss Confederacy began to take root from the end of the Middle Ages and the start of the Early Modern era. Relations within the cantons and with neighbours also varied. For example, some towns and territories, although fiercely guarding their independence, entered into alliances with their neighbours. Among these “perpetual allies” were Graubünden, Valais, the town and abbey of St. Gallen, Geneva, and sections of the episcopal principality of Basel.
In contrast, other regions were either seized or acquired. Some became the dependency of a single state, as was the case for French-speaking Vaud, which fell under the control of German-speaking Bern. Others like Thurgau and Aargau were administered as “common lordships” (i.e. subject to the joint rule of the Swiss Confederates).
While most are still part of Switzerland, some of these regions now belong to neighbouring France (Mulhouse), Germany (Rottweil) and Italy (Valtellina).
Neighbouring countries have also had a hand in the development of modern-day Switzerland. Sharing borders with major European cultures – German-speaking Europe, France, and Italy – was and continues to be an advantage for multilingual Switzerland, which has always nurtured close contact with its neighbours.

Switzerland has an area of 41,285 square kilometres (15,940 square miles). The productive area - that is, the area without the lakes, rivers, unproductive vegetation and no vegetation at all - covers 30,753 square km (11,870 square miles).
It measures 220 kilometers (137 miles) from north to south and 350 km (217 miles) from east to west.
The Jura, the Plateau and the Alps form the three main geographic regions of the country.
Switzerland has a population of 8.04 million. Population density is high, with 195 people per square km (500 per square mile). In the agglomerations, which cover about 20% of the total surface area, the density is 590 per square km (1528 per square mile).
The Swiss Plateau

The Emmental in the Bernese Plateau©
Urbanised landscape in St. Erhard, canton Lucerne
The Plateau stretches from Lake Geneva in the south west to Lake Constance in the north east, with an average altitude of 580 m (1902 ft).
It covers about 30 percent of the country`s surface area, but is home to two thirds of the population. There are 450 people to every square kilometre (1,166 per square mile). Few regions in Europe are more densely populated.
Most of Switzerland's industry and farmland is concentrated in the Plateau.
Urbanised landscape
If you travel across the Plateau, from Lake Geneva to Lake Constance, you never pass through unpopulated territory. The landscape continually shows signs of man's presence. When you leave a town, the next one is never far away. Villages lie within sight of each other.
The countryside in the Plateau tends to be highly organised; the fields often look as if they have been drawn with a ruler. Fields are small: nowhere are there endless acres given over to a single crop. Instead, meadows alternate with fields sown to cereals or other crops and with small woods. The land is used intensively.
The dense population and economic concentration in the Plateau means that more and more cultivated land is being lost. In Switzerland as a whole, 1 m2 (11 sq.ft.) of land has been built over every second since the early 1980s by encroaching housing and infrastructure. The greatest expansion has been in the conurbations of the Plateau.
Even outside the built-up areas there have been many changes. Orchards have given way to crops that can be mechanically harvested. In the period 1984-95, for every four trees grubbed up, only one was planted. However, the total length of hedgerows has increased, and there has been a move towards restoring open streams, which in previous decades had been built over.
Switzerland is acutely aware of the threat of climate change. In Switzerland the immediate impact of temperature rises on the human population will come from the mountains and their cover of snow and ice. In the last few decades the temperature in Europe's higher mountain regions has increased by one degree Celsius. Research shows that the trend is continuing.
Human settlements will be affected by landslides and floods. The all-important tourism industry will suffer as the areas available for winter sports shrinks more and more. Agriculture will also be hit.
Climate change is a cause for concern both economically and socially. The leading reinsurance company, Swissre, has called for strategies to implemented now to tackle climate change before it is too late.

Switzerland has a multitude of customs and traditions that bring a welcome touch of warmth and light to the cold, dark months of winter. One of the reasons why more festivals are held at this time of year is because winter tends to be a relatively quiet time for the farming community.
Advent and Christmas
Advent is the period beginning on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Eve, historically seen as the preparation for the Birth of Christ. In the past, these four weeks were used to teach children the virtue of patience – hence the development of the advent calendar, which comprises 24 little flaps opening on to windows depicting scenes from the Nativity. Advent calendars are very much a part of the Swiss Christmas tradition, as is the Advent crown which has four candles, one for each of the Sundays of Advent (on the first Sunday, one candle is burnt, on the second, two are lit, and so on).
In Switzerland, snow may not always be a sure thing at Christmas time. What is, though, is an impressive assortment of festivals and traditional celebrations which are enjoyed by everyone, regardless of their religious beliefs. There are Christmas parades where many a reveller enjoys a warming glass of mulled wine, church services, special concerts and carol singing. Indeed, Switzerland has a particularly rich and diverse tradition of carol singing due to its position at the heart of Europe and its multilingual status. But, as in other countries, many children in Switzerland now associate Christmas more with the arrival of Santa Claus than the birth of Jesus.
Trychle in Meiringen
Midnight on 25 December heralds the start of a rambunctious procession through Meiringen and neighbouring villages in the Bernese Oberland, which will take place every evening up to and including New Year’s Eve. With large cowbells (“Trychler”) strapped to their chest or carrying drums, masked locals march through the streets trying to make as much noise as possible in a bid to ward off evil spirits.
Silvesterkläuse in Urnäsch
The “Silvesterkläuse” is a tradition that is almost entirely confined to the Urnäsch area of Appenzell Ausserrhoden. The best-known “Kläuse” wear female or male masks and costumes with huge cowbells back and front and carry enormous headdresses.
They go from farmhouse to farmhouse, wishing the families a Happy New Year. The tradition dates back to 1852 and the reform of the old Julian calendar by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582, which was rejected by the mostly Protestant people of Appenzell. This is why the Silvesterkläuse celebrate on 13 January, the date of New Year according to the Julian calendar.
Epiphany and star singing
“Star singing” is a widespread custom which is practiced, mostly by children, from the last week of Advent to Epiphany (6 January). It takes its name from the star that the singers carry, representing the star that guided the three wise men to Bethlehem. The children, some dressed as the magi, go from door to door, parade through the streets or simply stand in the village square, while they sing a series of carols and hymns.
Vogel Gryff in Kleinbasel
Kleinbasel, the part of Basel on the right bank of the Rhine, provides the setting for the Vogel Gryff festival. The date of the festival rotates according to a three-year cycle between 13,20 and 27 January.
At the centre of the festival are three heraldic figures, the “Vogel Gryff” (griffin), the “Wild Maa” (wild man) and the “Leu” (lion), who dance in the streets of the town. Festivities begin with the Wild Maa floating down the Rhine on a raft, where he is joined by his companions. All three take care always to dance with their backs to the left bank – a show of disdain for their rich neighbours of Grossbasel. These heraldic figures represent the former honourable societies of Kleinbasel, which performed mainly political and military functions. Festivities end with a celebratory dinner and dancing in the town.
From 3 February to Ash Wednesday masked “Tschäggätta” parade through the villages of the Lötschental in the canton of Valais. These masked figures get their name from the black and white colour of the goat or sheep skin tunics that they traditionally wear (“tschäggätta” means piebald in the local dialect).
The tradition was originally a courtship ritual practiced only by the local bachelors. Times have changed and now anyone can join in. For the deeply religious inhabitants of the Lötschen valley, these distinctive and somewhat demonic-looking masks represented anarchy, rebellion and chaos.
Carnival, or Fastnacht as it is known in German-speaking Switzerland, heralds the end of winter and is celebrated across the country. However, the timing of these extravaganzas varies from one canton to the next. The Basel and Lucerne carnivals are the biggest and best known carnivals. This ancient tradition is a blend of Christian rites, secular folk customs and pagan spring festivals. In some cantons, carnival is based around the pagan custom of using demonic looking masks to chase away evil spirits. Masks and costumes help people take on a new identity while they parade through the streets, often playing musical instruments.
Basel carnival (Fasnacht) is one of the most extravagant traditions in Switzerland. At 4 am precisely the Morgestraich begins, heralding the start of festivities in the city on the Rhine. The streetlights are switched off, throwing the city centre into darkness. Soon the stirring sound of piccolos and drums are heard, and a motley crowd of masked and costumed figures burst into view.
The Basel Fasnacht tradition dates back to the 14th century and is held on the Monday following Ash Wednesday. After the dawn procession, festivities continue throughout the day, much in the same vein, with music, processions and plenty of noise. In the evening cafés and restaurants provide a forum for the “Schnitzelbänke”, a collection of satirical verses and songs on local political issues.
Lucerne carnival also dates back to the Middle Ages. Its central figure is Brother Fritschi, a legendary historical figure from the city’s history and a symbol of fertility. Carnival begins with the arrival of Brother Fritschi on the Thursday before Lent at 5 am. In the afternoon of “Dirty Thursday”, as the day is called locally, a masked and fancy dress parade makes its way through the city. People throughout the world came to see these customs and traditional events, Swiss govt. get its most foreign exchange through the money that foreigners spend on these events.
Tourism an important sector of economy:
Tourist regions:

1) Graubünden: Canton of Graubünden. 2) Eastern Switzerland: Cantons of Glarus, Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Appenzell Innerrhoden, Thurgau, Schaffhausen and St. Gallen. 3) Zurich Region: Cantons of Zurich, of Zug; Canton of Aargau: parts of the districts of Baden, Bremgarten and Zurzach; Canton of Schwyz: district of Höfe and part of district of March; Canton of St. Gallen: parts of See-Gaster district; Canton of Schaffhausen: part of district Schaffhausen. 4)Lucerne / Lake Lucerne: Cantons of Luzern, Uri, Obwalden and Nidwalden; Canton of Schwyz Canton of Aargau: district Muri, parts of Kulm and Lenzburg districts. 5)Basel Region: Cantons of Basel-Stadt and Basel-Landschaft; Canton of Solothurn: districts Dorneck and Thierstein, parts of districts Thal and Gösgen; Canton of Aargau: districts Laufenburg, Rheinfelden, parts of districts of Zurzach, Aarau and Brugg. 6)Bern Region: Canton of Bern: districts of Emmental, Oberaargau, Bern-Mittelland, parts of districts of Seeland and of Thun; Canton of Solothurn: districts of Olten, Gäu, parts of district of Gösgen; canton Aargau: district of Zofingen, parts of district Aarau, Baden, Brugg, Bremgarten, Kulm and Lenzburg.
7)Bernese Oberland: Canton of Bern: districts of Frutigen-Niedersimmental, Interlaken-Oberhasli, Obersimmental-Saanen, part of the district of Thun. 8)Jura & Three-Lakes: Cantons of Neuchâtel, Jura; Canton of Bern: districts of Bernese Jura, Biel/Bienne, part of Seeland; canton of Solothurn: district of Solothurn, Bucheggberg, Lebern, part of the districts of Thal and Wasseramt.
9)Lake Geneva Region (Vaud): Canton of Vaud.
10)Geneva: Canton of Geneva.
11)Valais: Canton of Valais. 12) Ticino: Canton of Ticino.
13) Fribourg Region: Canton of Fribourg.
Tourism – an important sector of the economy: Domestic and international tourism are important factors in the Swiss economy. Of a total revenue of CHF 34.5 billion in 2011, 18 billion or almost 52% came from tourist accommodation, meals or transportation. These three tourism products are responsible for 59% of the total value added from tourism. Tourism – an invisible export The expenditure of foreign guests in Switzerland has the same effect on the Swiss balance of payments as the export of goods and services. Approximately 5.5% of Switzerland’s export revenue come from tourism. The Tourism Balance of Payments, for instance, also reports expenditure by foreign cross-border commuters and short-stay residents, foreign students at Swiss private schools and foreign students at Swiss colleges and universities, which are not included in the Tourism Satellite Account. On the other hand, the Tourism Balance of Payments does not include purchases of tickets (air travel and international rail tickets) from Swiss transportation enterprises made by foreign visitors abroad. 2 Excluding labour and property income from abroad.
Largest share of income from travel with overnight stays:
Switzerland’s income and expenditures related to travel are reflected in the Tourism Balance of Payments. On the assets side, it reports Switzerland’s income from travel by foreign visitors in Switzerland, and on the liabilities side, it shows expenditure by the resident Swiss population while abroad. For system-related reasons, the figures in the Tourism Balance of Payments differ slightly from the values in the Tourism Satellite Account.

Share of individual tourism products in total tourist demand: After the growth of all aggregates in 2010, the tourism sector posted a less positive year in 2011. Despite a decline in demand for tourist accommodation (−1.5%), demand for characteristic tourism products showed a light growth (+0.3%). In addition to the growing demand for meals in restaurants and hotels (+0.6%), this was due to additional demand for tourism products in passenger traffic (+2.5%) and culture (+1.3%).

Accommodation services: highest share of tourist value added Between 2009 and 2011, tourism gross value added as a proportion of total gross value added decreaded slightly at 2.7%. The development of shares of accommodation, meals in restaurants and hotels and passenger traffic reflects the demand situation. Due to the increase in demand, total value added also increased by 0.5% in 2011. The additional value added in the tourism industry in 2011 was mainly driven by accommodation (+0.6%) and passenger traffic (+4.0%).
Increased tourism employment and productivity: After tourism employment fell by 0.1% in 2010, it rose slightly in 2011 by 0.3%. In 2011, tourism employment was equal to 144 745 full-time equivalent jobs. Whereas tourism employment in accommodation was declining at −3.5%, passenger transport showed strong growth of +4.7%. If the slower growth of tourism employment in 2011 is considered together with the stronger growth of tourism’s gross value added, the tourism sector records a slight increase in productivity.
Travel behaviour of the Swiss residential population:
In 2011, 85.1% of the Swiss population undertook trips with at least one overnight stay abroad. A total of 16.2 million trips were made, of which 5.8 million were within Switzerland. On average 2.5 trips were made per person, of which 0.9 trips had a domestic destination. While women and men make about the same number of trips, a comparison between different age groups and language regions shows differences in travel behaviour. Whereas people aged 25 to 44 were the most frequent travellers, taking three trips per year, people aged 65 or over took an average of 1.8 trips with overnight stays. In addition, the Swiss-German population travelled considerably more frequently (2.7 trips per year) than that of French- and Italian-speaking Switzerland (2.2 and 1.5 trips per year respectively).
In addition to trips with overnight stays, data on day trips were also collected. The Swiss resident population undertook a total of 63.8 million day trips in 2011, corresponding to an average of 9.9 trips per person. For day trips with a domestic destination, a decline of 11% was recorded in comparison with the previous year: this is equal to 1.1 fewer trips per person.
Duration and purpose of travel:
Trips with a destination abroad lasted longer than trips within Switzerland. Some 71% of trips abroad were trips of 4 or more overnight stays. In Switzerland, on the other hand, the majority of trips (62%) were composed of 1 to 3 overnight stays. As in the previous year, holidays and recreation were the main reasons for trips with overnight stays. They accounted for 71% of trips, and a good two-thirds of these had a foreign destination. In second place came trips for the purpose of visiting family and friends (16%). Business trips accounted for 5% of trips. Travel destinations:
In 2011, 5.8 million trips with overnight stays had a domestic destination, and 10.5 million had a foreign destination. The number of trips with overnight stays in Switzerland declined by 12% compared with the previous year, but nevertheless approximately 36% of all trips were made in Switzerland. The most common destinations abroad were Italy (12%), Germany (11%), France (10%) and Austria (5%). Among these, only trips to France showed an increase compared to 2010 (+28%).

Accommodation sector:
Swiss tourism statistics break accommodation options down into hotel accommodation and supplementary accommodation. Hotel accommodation Hotels: Hotels, boarding houses, guesthouses, motels. Health establishments: Sanatoria which are not subsidised by the canton and convalescent homes with medical management or support, Alpine health establishments, altitude clinics, rheumatic clinics, public spas. Supplementary accommodation: Private rooms (holiday homes and apartments): These are properties which are offered for rental to third parties. They exclude properties which are solely occupied by the owners or long-term tenants, or their family members.
Campsites: Demarcated sites which are accessible to everyone for the temporary parking of caravans and motor homes in which they travel, and for the temporary erection of tents.
Group accommodation: Dormitories for tourists and groups, club and association houses, mountain refuges and huts. Youth hostels: Switzerland’s official youth hostels.
Agritourism: Agritourism or Farm Holidays refers to tourist offers in the country which, generally speaking, are organised by farmers themselves and represent an additional source of income. The three most popular offers in Switzerland are: ‘Swiss Holiday Farms’, ‘Sleep in Straw’ and ‘’ (combined in the ‘Agritourism Switzerland’ umbrella organisation since june 2011). Bed & Breakfast: Bed & Breakfast stands for all kinds of accommodation where a bed and a breakfast are offered. Accommodation statistics (HESTA) replace the statistics for hotels and health establishments which date back to 1934 but which were discontinued in 2003 due to budget restrictions. In methodological terms, these figures cannot be compared to the old statistics; HESTA has been in operation since 1st January 2005.
Hotel accommodation Hotels and health establishments:
In 2012, the Swiss hotel industry recorded a total of 34.8 million overnight stays which was 2% less than in the previous year. Swiss demand amounted to 15.7 million overnight stays, which corresponds to a fall of 0.4% compared with 2011. Foreign guests generated 19.1 million overnight stays, i.e. a decrease of 3.3%. Germany accounted for the strongest foreign demand with 4.6 million overnight stays (−11% compared with 2011), followed by the United Kingdom with 1.5 million (−9.1%) and the United States with also 1.5 million (+2.2%) overnight stays. In terms of tourist regions, the Zurich region recorded the highest number of overnight stays in 2012 with 5.3 million units (+1.8%). It was followed by Graubünden with 5.1 million overnight stays (−5.6%) and Valais with 4.0 million overnight stays (−2.2%). In 2012, visitors stayed an average of 2.1 nights in hotels and health establishments in Switzerland. For guests from within Switzerland the average length of stay was 2.0 nights while for those from abroad it was 2.2 nights. Among the tourist regions, Graubünden recorded the longest average stay with 2.9 nights.
Supplementary accommodation
Holiday apartments:
Analyses of Supplementary accommodation ‘PASTA light’ The precise number of touristic second homes in Switzerland is currently not known. The following analyses are based on reports and information regarding residential units used for tourism, which were collected by municipalities, tourism offices, STF classification offices and reservation systems. The reported figures therefore do not reflect the total non-hotel overnight stays in Switzerland. One third of all reported destinations have no record of overnight stays or the number of holiday apartments – around half declare the number of overnight stays for each calendar year and approximately a sixth of all destination reports the amount of overnight stays for the tourism year (summer and winter season). The total amount of overnight stays in Swiss holiday apartments is estimated in the region of 18 million (basis: last census FSO 2003). Average duration of occupancy of the apartments is 61 days.
Group lodgings: In 2012 CONTACT transmitted 2 182953 overnight stays (−4.1%) to 671 affiliated group accommodations (−1.22%) in Switzerland. Swiss guests were responsible for 1 715232 overnight stays. The strongest foreign demand came from Germany with 270 117 overnight stays (−9.4%). Stays decreased in summer by 7.5% and in winter by 2.8%. Fortunately, the size of the groups remained high with an average of 30 people. The average length of stay has increased even slightly from 4.7 to 4.8 nights (+2.1%). The highest average of stay was recorded by Graubünden with 5.7 nights. It is followed by the Valais region with 5.5 nights. In comparison, groups stay for a much shorter period in urban areas. For example in the Basel region the average was 4.2 nights. In 2012 the Valais region recorded the highest number of overnight stays with 438 474 units (−2.9%) in 156 accommodations (−3.8%), followed by Graubünden with 425870 (−6.7%) in 127 houses (unchanged) and the Bernese Oberland with 320 904 units (−9.4%) in 118 group accommodations (−4.2%). A year ago, Graubünden ranked just before the Valais.
Youth hostels: In 2012, youth hostels based in Switzerland recorded a total of 917 000 overnight stays or 1.3% less than during the previous year. Domestic demand was at 537 000 overnight stays, which corresponds to an increase of 1.4%. Foreign demand generated 380 000 overnight stays or 1.2% more. German guests accounted for the largest share of foreign demand with 102 000 overnight stays (−21% compared with 2011), followed by guests from France with 28 000 overnight stays (+12%) and from the United Kingdom with 27 000 overnight stays (+14%). In terms of tourist regions, Graubünden recorded the largest number of overnight stays with 143 000 units (−3.6% compared with 2011), followed by Zurich region with 120 000 overnight stays (+8.5%) and Ticino with 96 000 overnight stays (−5.7%). In 2012, the average duration of stay in the youth hostels was 2 nights at national level. This number applies to both Swiss citizens and foreign guests. In terms of tourist regions, the largest length of stay was registered in Graubünden with a result of 2.7 nights.
In 2012, the campsites recorded 3 million overnight stays representing a decrease of 3.0% compared with the previous year. Swiss guests accounted for 1.8 million overnight stays, up 3.2%. Foreign guests generated 1.2 million overnight stays, down 11%. German guests accounted for 456 000 overnight stays (−7.9% compared with 2011), which corresponds to the highest absolute result among the foreign countries. They were followed by visitors from the Netherlands with 328 000 overnight stays (−21%), France with 84 000 overnight stays (−3,8%) and the United Kingdom with 64 000 (−26%). With a total of 774 000 overnight stays for 2012, Ticino saw a 5.3% decrease compared with the previous year, ranking first among all tourist regions in terms of absolute overnight stays. It was followed by Valais with 411 000 overnight stays (−8.5%). For Switzerland as a whole the average length of stay was 3.2 nights in 2012. Swiss guests spent an average of 3.5 nights on campsites while for foreign guests the number was 2.9 nights. Of all tourist regions Ticino recorded the longest average length of stay with 4.2 nights.

Agritourism & bed and breakfast: Agritourism;
With approximately 260 000 overnight stays 1 it was a successful year for agritourism in Switzerland. The office of the umbrella organisation Agritourism Switzerland opened up on 1st June 2011. Its purpose is to coordinate the activities of the three founding organisations, ‘Swiss Holiday Farms’, ‘Sleep in Straw!’ and ‘’ and improve the general conditions for service providers throughout Switzerland, while focusing on increasing the value added of the member operations (over 600 providers).

Hotel and restaurant industry major employer in switzerland:
Switzerland’s hotel and restaurant industry, with its 214 807 employees, is a very important employer in Switzerland. Some 5% of the country’s employees work in the hotel and restaurant industry. In addition, this industry employs some 9 514 young people as trainees (apprentices) within the framework of basic vocational education and training. In addition to the jobs in the hotel and restaurant industry itself, the sector indirectly generates many other jobs – within the construction industry, in agriculture, and in specialised trade. For instance, half of the meat in Switzerland is consumed in the catering industry. This means that jobs are created both in agriculture and the butchery business. The latest census by the Federal Statistical Office (2008) counts some 28 600 hotel and restaurant establishments in Switzerland. Of these, 68% are restaurants, 16% hotels, 8% bars, pubs, night clubs or discos and 2.6% pure catering companies. The hotel and catering industry generated a VAT-taxable annual turnover of around CHF 28.7 billion. The hotel and restaurant industry makes a substantial contribution to VAT revenues. In 2011, it paid the net sum of CHF 955 million in VAT. The approximately 26 836 restaurants and hotels in 2011 liable for tax thus contributed 9.3% of the overall Federal Tax Administration (FTA) volume of CHF 10.2 billion.
Turnover Mix: In 2011, over two thirds of turnover in the restaurants came from products from the kitchen and 17% from alcoholic beverages. Coffee/tea and mineral water made up 7.7% and 6.9% of the turnover respectively. In comparison to the previous year the turnover share produced by the kitchen has increased further (+3.8 percent points), at the expense of beverages. Wine and mineral water in particular achieved lower turnover (−1.4 and −0.9 percent points respectively).

Tourism infrastructure:
Public transport The public transport route network on railways, roads, lakes and rivers adds up to a total of 27 304 kilometres. 30 656 stopping points are served. In 2012, 2.38 million passengers made use of a halffare card, 442 000 persons held a general abonnement valid throughout the country and 1.3 million persons obtained a combined season ticket in one of the 20 regional tariff networks. One of the densest railway networks in the world: The railroad network of Switzerland totals 5 279 kilometres. 2 991 kilometres are part of the Swiss Federal Railways network. The Swiss railways (SBB) operate around 8 000 passenger trains or 375 000 train kilometres per day on their route network. Around half of this consists of long-distance services (Eurocity, Intercity and express trains), the other half of regional and suburban railway services. In 2012, Swiss Federal Railways carried 354 million passengers. The average journey distance mounted to 50 kilometres. In addition to Swiss Federal Railways, a further 44 railway companies operate in the public transport sector, which are often referred to as private railways. Finely tuned transport network with buses, trams and the PostBus: During the year 2011, 119 transport companies transported guests by tram, trolley bus and bus on a 19 335 kilometre-long network (figures include PostBus). Around 15 200 employees were necessary in order to transport the approximately 1.4 billion passengers with buses and trams. The 814 PostBus routes operate a network of more than 11 000 kilometres. 1 889 PostBus Switzerland Ltd. employees, with an additional 1 582 drivers from PostBus operators, conveyed 130 million passengers with 2 157 Postbuses (163 500 seats & standing places). The vehicles covered an overall distance of 107 million kilometers. Navigation: Active lake and river cruising in Switzerland : In 2012 the 16 companies joined together in the Association of Swiss Navigation Companies (ASNC) transported a total of 12.81 million passengers with 149 boats, approximately 3% more than in 2011 with 12.46 million passengers. Lake Lucerne once again topped the list with 2.49 million passengers, followed by Lake Geneva with 2.27 million passengers, the Lake Zurich Horgen–Meilen ferry with 2.12 million passengers and Lake Zurich (incl. Limmat River) with 1.76 million passengers. In terms of distance, on the other hand, performance rose from 2.42 to 2.44 million. Inland waterway transportation covers a network of approx. 1 200 kilometres. Public transport information service air traffic: almost 44.5 million air passengers In 2012, Switzerland’s airports recorded some 455 422 flight movements (take-offs and landings, only schedule and charter flights), 1% more than in 2011. Of the 44.5 million passengers taking off from or landing in Switzerland, about 136 688 used Switzerland as a transit station.

The mountain regions within the Alps and their peripheral areas are largely dependent on the income generated from tourism. The mountain railways occupy a key position in the tourism value creation chain. They are often the driving force in tourist destinations . – On 1st June 2012 there were 1 190 cantonally (T-bar lifts and small cableways) and 654 federally licensed facilities in Switzerland; totalling 1 749 aerial tramways, funiculars, circulating tramways and T-bar lifts (excluding small ski lifts and conveyor belts). Approximately half of these facilities are T-bar lifts, and 20% are circulating tramways (fixed-grip and detachable chair lifts, circulating cabin cable systems, circulating three-cable tramways and funitels). – Throughout Switzerland, mountain railways hire 3 300 full-time employees and over 6 550 seasonal workers in transport operations alone. And 3 729 additional positions of employment are being offered in other associated branches, such as gastronomy. – In its core business of passenger transport, Swiss mountain railways achieved in 2011/12 the sum of CHF 0.94 billion. – The areas where visitors and locals can take advantage of the Swiss mountain railways spread from the Alps of canton Vaud to Eastern Switzerland and the Graubünden Alps. The cableways from Valais and Graubünden together generate almost two thirds of all passenger transports’ incomes in Switzerland. Artificial snowmaking: Overall ski area accounts for only 0.5% of Switzerland’s total territory. The slope surface with manmade snow continues to increase and currently represents 39% of the ski area (85.8 km2 ). In order to develop man-made snow devices, more than CHF 45 million were invested in the business year 2010/11. Evolution of Skier-days and first-time admissions: Development of the Skier-days (first entry per person and day during winter) and first entry during the summer months, depend primarily on the Currency, Economy and Weather factors influencing tourism. Clearly visible is also a notable reduction in the number of children and youths skiing or snowboarding. Swiss ski and snowboard schools: In 158 Swiss ski and snowboard schools, approximately 4 000 ski, snowboard, telemark and nordic instructors are engaged. During the high season, as many as 7 000 teach in these schools that offer skiing, snowboard, nordic and telemark lessons for both children and adults. On request, there are also a number of other sportive and comprehensive activities available to guests. Switzerland Mobility: SwitzerlandMobility is the national network of non-motorized traffic for leisure and tourism focusing on the development and communication of the most attractive hiking, cycling, mountain biking, skating, and canoeing routes in Switzerland. SwitzerlandMobility links these routes with public transportation and a wide variety of services in the leisure and tourism industry. The supporting body of the network is the Switzerland Mobility Foundation. Sales generated as a result of SwitzerlandMobility: Since SwitzerlandMobility was launched in the spring of 2008, the interest of the Swiss population and foreign tourists has grown steadily: while the web portal registered just over 1 million visits in 2008, the number jumped to over 4.2 million in 2012. In 2011 the LINK-Institute found that about 2 million people, or 24% of the Swiss population, are familiar with SwitzerlandMobility. Slow up: SwitzerlandMobility Jointly with Switzerland Tourism and Health Promotion Switzerland, is a supporter of slowUp projects, car-free days of adventure in all regions of Switzerland. Swiss hiking trails: Switzerland’s network of hiking trails constitutes an important element in the country’s basic tourist infrastructure and is intensively used for recreational purposes. Responsibility for the more than 60 000 kilometres network lies with the cantons. Types of hiking trails and their altitude: There are 42 000 kilometres of ordinary hiking trails, 23 000 kilometres of mountain trails and around 600 kilometres of Alpine trails. They range in altitude from the lowest point in the country to more than 3 000 metres above sea level. Statistics for hiking in Switzerland (2008); There are around 2 million regular hikers in Switzerland and, on average, they do 20 walks a year. The total number of hiking days per annum is over 40 million. Breakdown of spending by hikers in Switzerland: Switzerland has around 2.4 million hikers and they spend roughly CHF 1.6 billion per annum on this activity. Of this total, CHF 1.25 billion goes on return travel, mountain railways and meals, as well as overnight accommodation on excursions lasting longer than a day. Spending on hiking equipment amounts to CHF 350 million. Spending by foreign visitors acounts for around CHF 200 million of the total amount spent on hiking. International tourist arrivals: In 2012 the number of international arrivals grew by 4%, overstepping the billion mark for the first time. On a global level, tourism can thus be viewed as a growing branch with continuous and stable growth – despite recurring economic lulls, continuing weak Euro exchange and armed conflicts. In contrast, in Switzerland the number of overnight stays in hotels has stagnated since the 90’s. As compared to 2011, hotel overnight stays decreased by around 2% to 34.8 million. Top Tourism Attractions of Switzerland:
The Matterhorn-Symbol of Switzerland:

The Matterhorn and Switzerland are inseparably linked to each other. The pyramid shaped colossus of a mountain, which is very difficult to climb, is said to be the most-photographed mountain in the world. The Klein-Matterhorn ("Little Matterhorn"), which can be reached via a funicular, lies adjacent to the Matterhorn.

The first ascent of the Matterhorn in the year 1865, which cost the lives of four out of seven alpinists, changed the region (which had been isolated until then) forever. The Matterhorn became world-famous, and ambitious mountaineers aspired to climb it.

Even today the ascent of the Matterhorn is very challenging and can only be achieved by expert mountaineers with excellent equipment and a competent guide. One has a fantastic view of the world's most photographed mountain from the Klein-Matterhorn (Matterhorn Paradise), which is only separated from the Matterhorn by the Theodul Pass and Glacier. Visitors can board the aerial cable car in Zermatt. The mountain station at 3820 meters above sea level is the highest cable car station of the Alps.
Ruinaulta-Switzerlands Grand Caynon:
The Ruinaulta owes its existence to the Flimser landslide 10,000 years ago, when 10,000 million cubic meters of rock thundered into the valley. The canyon-like ravine in the Vorderrhein Valley can be reached on foot, across the water, by train or by bike.

The Rhaeto-Romanic speaking inhabitants of the Vorderrhein ravine call it Ruinaulta, a word meaning high heap of rubble. And it is true that the bizarre white rock formations consist of debris produced by a prehistoric landslide, through which the Rhine has slowly and sinuously eaten its way.

What has come into being is a natural, magical place full of mysterious lakes in the Mountain Forest, rare orchids and breeding grounds for endangered species of birds. Further below, gently sloping sand banks alternate with wild rapids and make the region of the Rhine gorge an adventure for hikers, bikers, rafters, canoers, nature lovers and explorers alike.
Binntal Nature Park:

The Binntal (Binn valley) surprises at every turn. A world classic and award-winning gastronomy in a mountain village. World-ranking architecture in a primordial landscape.

It was the smugglers who came here first. They used the old pack trail (mule trail) on their way to Italy. Then came the rock crystal prospectors. For the Binntal had already garnered earlier renown for its mineral wealth. And it was the tourists who arrived finally. The traditional Hotel Ofenhorn dating from the pioneering age of Alpine tourism bears testament to this.

Today, this Valais side valley, where one to some extent steals through a narrow gorge, is primarily renowned for its culture (in the music village of Ernen), the tulips (in Grengiols) and its surprising cuisine (in several mountain restaurants and in two Gault-Millau restaurants in Ernen).

And naturally also for its scenery. The Binntal Nature Park offers primal naturalness from the mountain peaks down to the periphery of the villages – which coincidentally are so authentic that they have earned a prize for this very attribute.
Doubs Regional Nature Park:
The river Doubs lends its name to Doubs Nature Park. Forty kilometers long, the river forms the border of the French Departement bearing the same name. To the south, the Freiberg Mountains with their typical forest and meadow landscape are part of the 300-square-meter Nature Park.

Between Neuenburg’s Les Brenets with its Saut du Doubs Lake (Waterfall) and the medieval town of St-Ursanne, the Doubs River presents itself at times as an untouched, awe-inspiring gorge, at times as a canoeing route, or yet again as an eldorado for anglers and connoisseurs of fish dishes.

The Freiberg Mountains in the Canton of Jura are a paradise for horses and equestrians. Thanks to negligible differences in altitude, they also are ideal for pleasure hikers and bikers. The proud, half wild "Freiberger" horse breed is a perfect match for the independent-minded people of the Jura region. The low stonewalls are typical elements of the original agricultural use of the park-like landscape. .

Cultural highlights are the two UNESCO World Heritage towns in the Canton of Neuenburg: La Chaux-de-Fonds and Le Locle as well as St-Ursanne, famous for theater performances and exhibitions.
Chasseral Regional Park:
From Mont Blanc through to the Säntis: The Chasseral offers up a panorama of superlatives and is entirely a nature reserve – right down to its foothills – for all those who enjoy nature par excellence.

‘Tête de Moine’, ‘Camille Bloch’, ‘Chasselas’ and ‘Treberwurst’: Chasseral is one of the highest points in the Swiss Jura, it is, in a manner of speaking, the summit of enjoyment. This is the world of cheese dairies, chocolate and – on the shores of Lake Biel – naturally also wine. Those wishing to delve into its secrets should walk along the vine-growing trail.

Those wanting to venture up higher should set out on the ridge walk which will take them to the Chasseral landmark that is visible in the distance: the telecommunication tower, a symbol for the close ties that exist here between technology and tradition, man and nature.

Forming part of the landscape here for many years, it isn’t only the wind and solar power stations that bear testament to the large amount of energy available in the Chasseral Regional Park, but also the innovative ideas of the people that live here. A discovery indeed!

Holiday Destinations And Cities Of Switzerland: Zurich:
As a «metropolis of experiences» by the water, with a magnificent view of the snowcapped Alps on the horizon, Zurich offers a unique mixture of attractions – over 50 museums and more than 100 art galleries, international fashion labels and Zurich designs, and the most flamboyant and lively nightlife in Switzerland. Recreational activities range from a visit to the riverside and lakeside bathing areas in the very heart of the city, to a spectacular hike on the Uetliberg mountain.
The city of Zurich lies in the heart of Europe and at the center of Switzerland, on the northern shores of Lake Zurich. Its multicultural flair and the variety of leisure activities on offer attract guests from all over the world to this “region of short routes”. Zurich is quick and easy to reach, whether by train, plane or private vehicle. Its international airport has direct connections with over 150 destinations. Just a 10-minute train ride from the airport and situated right in the city center, Zurich’s Main Railway Station is regarded as a central European railroad hub. More than 400,000 people live in this experience, science and business center. Thanks to its top-quality infrastructure set amidst natural surroundings, it is a popular place for study and research. For example, at Zurich University or the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH); built by Gottfried Semper from 1858 to 1864, the ETH Zürich is today associated with 21 Nobel prizewinners.

Some 150 years ago, part of the city’s fortifications was transformed into what is now arguably the most famous “Station Road” in the world, the Bahnhofstrasse. Zurich’s shopping mile has contributed largely to the city's reputation as an El Dorado for shoppers and is a top address for international fashion labels, jewelry and watches. However, it is just one of the places where you can find urban Zurich labels; whether in Zurich-West or in the Aussersihl quarter, you often come across local brands where you least expect them. They inspire the fashion-conscious and cause a sensation far beyond Switzerland's borders – as has, for example, the cult label Freitag, with its unique style of bags and accessories.

Zurich boasts the highest density of clubs in Switzerland – here, you can never turn up too late. From a house music party in the legendary Kaufleuten to Greatest Hits from the Eighties at the oldest club in the city, the Mascotte, to a gay event at the Labor Bar – parties really get going after 11.00 pm and continue into the wee hours of the morning. Here, there are no official closing times. In summer, nightlife can be found not only in the clubs, but also outside in the open air; the venues where visitors bathe and relax during the day are ideal places to flirt and dance at night.

Also for lovers of art Zurich has a lot to offer. The city alone is home to over 50 museums, some 14 of which are devoted to art. The museum of fine arts, the Kunsthaus Zürich, boasts a significant collection of paintings, sculptures, photographs and videos. In addition, it has an extensive collection of works by Alberto Giacometti. Another highlight is the Rietberg Museum, one of the leading centers of non-European art in the world. Just a stone's throw from Zurich's main station, the Swiss National Museum – housed in an over 100 year old building reminiscent of a fairytale castle – contains the country's most comprehensive collection of exhibits relating to Swiss cultural history.

The lively tradition of merchant guilds in Zurich is dating back to the Middle Ages. Equally impressive are their fine guild houses and guildhalls – such as the Zunfthaus zur Waag, open since at least 1303. Like the Grossmünster church, the Lindenhof square and the Öpfelchammer restaurant in the Niederdorf, these venues are now among the city’s cherished emblems. Geneva: Embedded between nearby Alpine peaks and the hilly terrain of the Jura, the French-speaking city of Geneva lies in the bay where the Rhone leaves Lake Geneva. With its humanitarian tradition and cosmopolitan flair, the European seat of the UNO and headquarters of the Red Cross is known as the «capital of peace». The symbol of the «world’s smallest metropolis» is the “Jet d’eau” – a fountain with a 140-metre-high water jet at the periphery of Lake Geneva. Most of the large hotels and many restaurants are situated on the right-hand shore of the lake. The old town, the heart of Geneva with the shopping and business quarter, holds sway over the left-hand shore. It is dominated by St. Peter’s Cathedral, however the actual centre of the old town is the Place du Bourg-de-Four, which is the oldest square in the city. Quays, lakeside promenades, countless parks, lively side streets in the old town and elegant shops invite guests to stroll. One of the best-maintained streets is the Grand-Rue, where Jean-Jacques Rousseau was born. The «mouettes», a type of water taxi, enable crossings to be made from one lakeshore to the other, while larger vessels invite visitors to enjoy cruises on Lake Geneva.

Geneva is Switzerland’s most international city, as it is where the European seat of the UNO is based. Even the International Red Cross directs its humanitarian campaigns from here. Besides being a congress city, Geneva is also a centre for culture and history, for trade fairs and exhibitions. The «Horloge Fleuri», the large flower clock in the “Jardin Anglais” (English Garden), is a world-renowned symbol of the Geneva watch industry.

Culturally, this city on the westernmost fringe of Switzerland has much to offer. International artists perform in the Grand Théâtre and Geneva Opera House, and an extremely diverse range of museums such as the “Musée international de l'horlogerie”, a watch museum with a collection of jewellery watches and musical clocks, and the International Museum of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, which provides an insight into the work of these humanitarian organisations, invite city guests to visit them.

A rewarding excursion destination is Mont Salève, which is situated in neighbouring France. The cableway lifts visitors to an altitude of 1100 metres in less than five minutes, giving rise to outstanding vistas across the city of Geneva, Lake Geneva, the chain of Alps, the Jura and Montblanc. Arosa: The tradition-rich Grisons holiday resort of Arosa is located at the end of the romantic Schanfigg Valley at an altitude of about 1800 metres above sea level. With its impressive range of mountain peaks all around, Arosa Lenzerheide is just as attractive for extended hiking tours in summer as it is in winter, offering a great variety of snow sport activities. Because of its location at the bottom of a wide valley, Arosa is very sunny and to a great extent sheltered from strong winds. As there is no transit traffic, the air is particularly pure which is why Arosa has been a famous Alpine health resort since 1877. Arosa is accessible by Rhaetian Railways from Chur or by car across over 365 serpentines and through several tunnels, past the smaller holiday resort of Langwies.
The Arosa All-inclusive Card, which is free for any overnight stay (apartment, hotel or camp site), entitles Arosa guests to a wide variety of free offers! This card includes the usage of the aerial tramways to Hörnli and Weisshorn, access to the rope park, entrance to the local history museum, pedalo rentals and much more. * Weisshorn (2,653 metres above sea level) – the new panorama restaurant offers magnificent 360° views over 400 peaks in Switzerland and neighbouring countries as well as down to Chur, the capital of Grisons. * Untersee bathing beach – idyllically situated bathing beach with a sandy shore, sunbathing lawn and decking, solar-heated paddling pool, 50-metre-slide, diving boards, table tennis and a garden restaurant. * Obersee water display - sponsered by Rhätische Bahn und hotelleriesuisse Arosa. Biggest water display in Europe accompanied by lights and music enrich the night sky (Tues, Fri and Sat from mid June to the end of October). * Squirrel Trail – not at all shy, the squirrels along the squirrel trail close to the village allow themselves to be fed by the whole family. * Arosa Golf Course – in a fabulous Alpine setting one of the highest 18-hole golf courses in Europe at an altitude of 1850 metres above sea level.

IceSnowFootball – Inofficial snow football world championship right in the middle of the snowy mountain peaks. Former national players from all over the world fight for the much-coveted title (January).
 Arosa Jazz Festival – jazz sounds from the Obersee right up to the Weisshorn peak (July).
 Arosa Music Theater – An opera in a small clearing on a foresty stage, canopied by the starry sky of Arosa (July).
 Arosa ClassicCar –The International Hill Climb Arosa ClassicCar between Langwies and Arosa transforms Arosa to the ‘Monaco of the Mountains’. The event provides attractions and highlights on and off the race track (August / September).  Arosa Humour Festival – big names from the world of cabaret and comdey come together to entertain visitors during Arosa’s winter pre-season (December). Leukerbad:
The Romans were among the first to recognise the healing properties of the hot springs of Leukerbad. This thermal spa resort lies well protected in a Valais side valley and is now a popular destination for wellness and sports’ enthusiasts. Every day 3.9 million litres of hot water gush from 65 thermal springs in the mountain spa resort of Leukerbad. These thermal springs have led to the development of tourism in Leukerbad and made it one of the biggest spa and wellness resorts in Switzerland. Apart from a medical rehabilitation centre, its attractions now include numerous public thermal baths. After their sporting activities, neither skiers in winter nor hikers in summer miss the chance to regenerate in the warm, relaxing water. The centre of Leukerbad is traffic-free and the Leukerbad Sports Arena offers plenty of indoor sports facilities to enjoy all-year round, whatever the weather. Every day 3.9 million litres of hot water gush from 65 thermal springs in the mountain spa resort of Leukerbad. These thermal springs have led to the development of tourism in Leukerbad and made it one of the biggest spa and wellness resorts in Switzerland. Apart from a medical rehabilitation centre, its attractions now include numerous public thermal baths. After their sporting activities, neither skiers in winter nor hikers in summer miss the chance to regenerate in the warm, relaxing water. The centre of Leukerbad is traffic-free and the Leukerbad Sports Arena offers plenty of indoor sports facilities to enjoy all-year round, whatever the weather Malbun: Malbun is the main holiday resort in the little Principality of Liechtenstein. This small village is ideal for families in summer or winter. There are many cultural attractions to visit in the nearby capital, Vaduz. The steep slopes at the end of the Malbun valley surround the little resort of Malbun (1600 m) like an arena. The small scale of this little mountain village and the traffic-calming measures in the centre of the village make Malbun a particularly family-friendly resort. The children’s entertainment programme "Malbun Rascals" keeps children happy during high season. Summer: The extensive network of mountain footpaths around Malbun leads you into an idyllic, virtually untouched natural landscape. The geography of this little country makes it an outstanding bikers’ destination, with lots of tricky dedicated trails and paths. An ideal starting point for hiking and mountain biking tours is the top of the chair-lift on the Sareiser Joch. Fun for the little ones is guaranteed at the children’s playground on the sunny panorama terrace of the mountain restaurant (2015 m) or at the Pet Donkey Zoo.

Distances are small in the “little country”. Vaduz is only 15 km away from Malbun: reason enough to enjoy the cultural offerings in the “little town” from time to time, even if you are holidaying in Malbun.

Halfway to Vaduz is Triesenberg, perched high above the Rhine valley. At the local history museum, you can find out about the history of this Walser settlement, where the locals still speak a well-preserved Walser dialect. Winter: At one time, Malbun belonged to the ghosts in winter – it says so in a number of documents from earlier times. Today, the ghosts have been driven out, and Malbun has made a name for itself as a popular, snow-safe and family-friendly winter sports centre. With two chair-lifts, four T-bars and a drag lift, there is access to 23 km of easy slopes rising to 2000 m. There’s a fun park for snowboarders, and also, of course, a winter sports school.

14 km of prepared winter footpaths lead from Malbun to the Sassfürkle (1771 m). Sledgers will love the run down from the Windegga to Malbun or on the floodlit 1000 m long natural sledging run down from Alp Stücka to Steg. From the Maiensäss Steg below Malbun there are 15 km of cross-country skiing trail leading into the idyllic Valüna valley. Three kilometres of this is illuminated at night. Family: The steep slopes at the end of the Malbun valley surround the little resort of Malbun (1600 m) like an arena. The small scale of this little mountain village and the traffic-calming measures in the centre of the village make Malbun a particularly family-friendly resort. The children’s entertainment programme "Malbun Rascals" keeps children happy during high season. Olten: The small town of Olten lies between Solothurn and Aarau at the southern foot of the Jura on the river Aare. Thanks to its central location in the Swiss Mittelland, the town is a popular venue for conventions and meetings. The unspoiled nature of the nearby Jura heights however also makes the area an attractive leisure region.

Olten lies at the junction of the north-south Basel-Chiasso and east-west Geneva-St. Gallen railway lines. Moreover, a national Autobahn junction is also in the immediate vicinity. The central location of Olten in Solothurn canton is legendary, and the Olten railway buffet is a popular meeting point since it is equally close for all Swiss. Its good accessibility already made the town a popular location early on for trade and industry.

The town has numerous hotels and restaurants with a sought-after infrastructure for meetings. Benefiting from having been well maintained is the historic core of the old town. The pedestrian zones with their attractive arrays of shops, the active music scene and a vibrant nightlife with various clubs are all popular.

When undertaking a tour through the old town, a visit to Olten’s museums, the nature museum, art museum and "Wertpapierwelt", the historical museum of shares and bonds, is well worthwhile. Those with a yearning for the exotic will find Switzerland’s largest Thai temple in nearby Gretzenbach. Finally, on travelling around Olten, visitors will encounter a multitude of interesting fortresses, ruins, castles, churches and chapels.

Numerous excursions, walking trails and bicycle tours in a surprisingly untouched natural environment with light broadleaf forests lead towards the Jura and along the course of the river Aare. After a climb through “Devil’s Gorge” on the “Allerheiligenberg” (All Hallows Mountain) one is rewarded with a magnificent panoramic vista across the Swiss Mittelland. The numerous steep Jura faces, climbing walls and quarries attract ambitious climbers to the region.

Golf enthusiasts will find a beautiful, 18-hole golf course between Olten and Aarau. The solar bobsleigh run in Langendorf by Oberen Hauenstein is aimed at children and the young at heart. When snow falls suffice, small ski areas are operated at several other Jura slopes in the winter. However, the ‘Jurahöhen’ (Jura heights) primarily remain a much-loved cross-country ski region in winter. Famous Food And Wine Of Switzerland:
Switzerland Cheese Marketing: 450 varieties of cheese, and each one is unique. Fresh Swiss milk from contented cows grazing on lush meadows: the starting ingredient is the same in every region of Switzerland. But what emerges from it in the dairies could not be richer in variety. There’s the world- famous Emmentaler AOP; spicy Appenzeller®; smooth, soft Vacherin Mont d’Or AOP; tangy cheeses such as Sbrinz AOP; aromatic ones like Le Gruyère AOP; Tête de Moine AOP, which can be shaved into ornate rosettes; plus around another 450 unmistakeably original Swiss cheeses.

Needless to say, a country with such a variety of cheeses offers a great range of cheese-based culinary creations – from the cheese bombs known as Malakoffs to toasted cheese slices and cheesecakes, and from raclette to the famous fondue. For in Switzerland, cheese is not just cheese, but a living slice of popular and gastronomic culture.

A must for cheese lovers is a visit to a weekly market to see the stands of the farmers and cheese makers stacked high with wheels of cheese, many of which have been made in summer pastures.
Chocolat Fury:

Let our chocolate melt in your mouth – savour the exquisiteness and immerse yourself in the magical, mythical world of Chocolat Frey. Being in possession of the original recipe for traditional Swiss chocolate and being committed to comprehensive quality right down to the last detail, Chocolat Frey has worked its way up to the No. 1 spot on the Swiss chocolate market.

From Switzerland to the world
But it is not just in Switzerland that people sweeten their day with fine chocolates from Chocolat Frey. Chocoholics in more than sixty different countries on all five continents regularly indulge their addiction with Frey’s melt-in-your-mouth creations.

Frey’s secret
A great tradition, years of experience, a passion for perfection and careful choice of the finest ingredients together conspire to make the chocolates made by Chocolat Frey a truly unique pleasure – one could almost say an unforgettable event! Let our chocolate melt in your mouth – savour the exquisiteness and immerse yourself in the magical, mythical world of Chocolat Frey.

From cocoa beans to chocolate
Chocolat Frey takes quality very seriously indeed. Only chocolate made from the very best raw materials is good enough to bear the name Frey. This means that at every stage in the production process, from the sourcing and roasting of the cocoa beans to their processing to make chocolate, is performed and supervised by experienced chocolatiers. So the really essential ingredients in Frey’s 100% Swiss premium chocolate are choice raw materials, an indefatigably innovative spirit and highly skilled employees.

Appenzell Beer:

The Swiss beer with true tradition and culture.

Brauerei Locher AG was purchased by the Locher family in 1886 and is the last remaining brewery in the Appenzell. This independent family-owned company has been brewing beer for its clientele for five generations now. Its speciality beers have achieved wide acclaim as have the company’s traditional beers. The beers are made by hand and according to traditional methods with special attention being paid to the quality of the raw materials. Appenzell beer is available throughout Switzerland with the Quöllfrisch and Vollmond brands being particularly popular. Sbrinz AOP:
Aromatic hard grating cheese from the heart of Switzerland.
Sbrinz AOP is a spicy hard grating cheese that has been made in Central Switzerland for hundreds of years. 32 selected cheese dairies in the valleys and up on the summer pastures produce the cheese every day from the finest-quality raw milk, rennet and salt. Sbrinz AOP is a completely natural product, without any additives. The aging also takes place in the region of origin. Since 2002, Sbrinz has been protected by the AOP label (Appellation d’origine protégée – registered designation of origin), which guarantees that only cheese made within the specified region, and of the highest quality is offered for sale.
The older, the spicier:
It takes time for Sbrinz AOP to develop its full flavour, a lot of time. Aging takes a minimum of 18 months; the more mature the cheese, the more aromatic and spicy its taste.

Sbrinz AOP is the only Swiss cheese that may be savoured in three different ways. From the age of 18 months it can be sliced into wafer-thin curls. From the age of 24 months, broken into chunks with a Sbrinz chisel, it makes the perfect accompaniment to an aperitif, and will enhance any cheese platter. When grated, its spicy aroma adds the perfect finishing touch to many dishes. Sbrinz AOP is exceptionally versatile.

Sbrinz Route: on the trail of the traders
A fascinating historic trail leads through pristine scenery along a route used since ancient times by muleteers, traders, craftsmen, pilgrims and smugglers. The muleteers whose job it was to carry vital provisions across the Alps were expert at devising the most efficient way to cross from one valley to the next. The Sbrinz Route came about as the shortest direct crossing through the Alps between Lucerne and Domodossola. It was named after the celebrated cheese, which was once transported along this trail in large quantities for trading.

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