The 150th anniversary of winter sports and a new glacier walkwaySwitzerland is renowned for its winter sport and is always aiming to build its summer tourism to balance it. However, it wasn’t always like that. Exactly 150 years ago this year, the Swiss hotelier Johannes Badrutt told his summer guests in St Moritz that they should see his country in all its winter glory. He even went so far as to pledge that he would pay their expenses if they came in winter and were not happy with the experience. They gave it a try in 1864, thoroughly enjoyed it and winter tourism was born. It has been growing ever since.
There was a further boost to Switzerland as a destination when, in July 1865, Edward Whymper succeeded in climbing the Matterhorn. There was extensive press coverage of the event and this made Switzerland even more popular.
So, in 2015, another 150th anniversary, the town of Zermatt will host a number of events in celebration. Group visits to Zermatt can coincide with the most relevant of the different festivities that are planned.
But Switzerland is not relying exclusively on celebrations of past successes. It is constantly adding to its visitor attractions. The latest is the remarkable ‘Peak Walk’ suspension bridge on Glacier 3000. Opening next month (November 2014) is a 107 metre (325ft) bridge joining twin mountain peaks of the Diablerets massif in the Alps. Part of the bridge will feature a glass floor, so that walkers will be able to look down from a height of over 3,000 metres (nearly 10,000ft).