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Run for cover

Ticino tourism could be big loser from burka ban

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Growing numbers of Arab visitors to southern Switzerland were helping save the region’s tourist industry. But now a ‘burka ban’ is in force, which could turn many away. (SRF/swissinfo.ch)

Italian-speaking Ticino became the first and only Swiss canton to introduce a ban on any face covering headgear, which came into effect on July 1. The first fine was handed out on the same day to a Swiss niqab-wearing Muslim from Zurich who travelled to Ticino in defiance of the law.

Hotels in the region oppose the new law since they say it’s bad for business. Ticino has experienced a significant decline in German-speaking Swiss tourists and Germans over the past few years, and has partially made up for their absence by targeting well-to-do Gulf State Arabs.

Both the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have called on their citizens to abide by the various bans on religious dress in different parts of Europe, including Ticino.