For many years, working on the image of the country of quality and prestige and finally having established this status in the minds of millions, Switzerland today attracts "legions" of tourists. Tourism business is one of the main sectors of the economy. 20% of the total Swiss income accounts for tourism. Everybody comes: pensioners, and students, young couples, and extreme singles.
Switzerland, located in the heart of the Alps, seems like specially created for tourism. One of the Helvetian legends exposes the story of origin of the "Alpine Pearl" as follows:
When God was distributing natural wealth, he forgot about one very small inconspicuous country, situated in the very heart of Europe. And then, to correct his mistake, forgetful God graced the land with mountains, similar to stone castles, sparkling glaciers, huge waterfalls and emerald lakes - so Helvetia was born - an absolute incarnation of the divine beauty and wisdom.
The center of the tourism industry is, above all, an extensive network of mountain-climatic resorts. The Alpine range covers 2/3 of entire Switzerland, which is homeland of the ski tourism. Such well-known luxury resorts like Davos, the international center of tourism and sports, St. Moritz, famous for its mineral springs, or "Italian" Zermatt, around which you can see Horner, the largest Alpine glacier, do not need a special introduction.
For those who love urban holidays the time spent in Lucerne with its unique architecture, famous museums and world-famous Alpineum where you can see a 3D-panorama of the Alps will be unforgettable. You can stroll through the medieval streets of Basel, where Erasmus of Rotterdam was buried, visit French-speaking Lausanne, which "lower city" is proud of the 16th-century castles.
Geneva deserves special attention. Here is one of UN headquarters located, but the modern metropolitan civilization has not even touched the 2,000-year history of the small town with a population of just over 100,000 people. Here, the time seems to have stopped (as well as everywhere in Switzerland), and museums and galleries suited to any fancy constantly remind of the days past.
Twelve Swiss historical and cultural monuments are under the protection of UNESCO. For example, the St. John’s Benedictine monastery in the eastern part of the country, built in the XVIII century of the Carolingian era. The unique monument was built on the trade route, and passing by merchants often found a place to stay in the Abbey. Murals and relief designs in the Romanesque style make the cenoby a unique place. Or medieval castle Castelgrande - the first fortification of three fortresses that once protected the ancient city of Bellinzona. The old town of Bern, combining architectural styles of different eras. In short, there is no desire to get up on skis - "see the antiquity".
The rapid development of Swiss tourism predetermines the prosperity of the hotel business in the country. Hotels are the most important component of the tourism infrastructure, along with transport, food, entertainment, and tour operating industry.
The statistics states that the number of tourists is a relatively constant value, independent of changing seasons. Of course, a special "rush" falls on summer and winter periods, but also the lack of visitors is not observed during the "dead" season. Hotels (there are more than 10,000 of them here) meet visitors in the spirit of the traditions of hospitality, so much admired in the Alpine land. Luxury, ritzy hotels or small, cozy hotel-chalets always pleasantly surprise with excellent service and impeccable decor.
The infrastructure is distinguished by diverse services offered by hotels. Summer vacation fans can enjoy windsurfing, golf fields, equestrian opportunities; for those who prefer to have rest in winter there are ski slopes of all kinds (from sledging to cross-country skiing), beginners will be offered schools for beginning skiers; all year round - climbing under the guidance of professional instructors, various hiking trails, skating rinks with artificial turf, tennis and squash courts, skydiving and air-balloon trips.
Along with the recently built, top hotels such as Atlantis by Giardino or the Fairmont Le Montreux Palace 5 *, in Switzerland there are a lot of those with many years of past, which have managed to "survive" and remain almost intact. In general, the history of the Swiss hotel business is inextricably linked with the new history of Switzerland, which began after the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815. However, until the 19th century, the Swiss tourism was represented only by summer leisure activities and tourist centers of the 19th century were mainly lacustrine cities. Picturesque landscapes and emerald lakes very soon "pushed" Switzerland in the first place in the number of other tourist countries. Meanwhile, Colombia pioneers were "mastering" alpine lands with passion: strolling through the streets of ancient cities, viewing castles and cathedrals, climbing the mountains. Gradually, the Swiss began to reflect on the development of the tourist infrastructure. Thus, in 1834, the first "real" hotel appeared - a grandiose Geneva «Hotel des Berges», which marked the beginning of large-scale hotel construction across the country.
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