A milestone for Swiss tourism
For the first time, the tourist industry and federal government have joined forces to reward innovation and excellence in tourism.
The creators of the Milestone Tourism Prize hope it will become the Oscar for Switzerland's most glamorous industry.
More than 70 projects were submitted for the two prizes to be awarded for excellence. The jury has narrowed the field to 10, which include everything from a hotel for children to a unique partnership between an electricity board and a resort.
There will also be prizes for lifelong contributions to tourism in Switzerland and for an exceptional performance by a young person working in the industry.
They will be awarded by the economics minister, Pascal Couchepin, at a ceremony in Berne on Tuesday evening.
The organisers say they want the annual Milestone event to promote competitiveness in the tourist industry.
"Switzerland still benefits from the tourism pioneers of the 19th century," says jury member, Peter Kühler who is editor in chief of the weekly newspaper, "Hotel Tourismus Revue". "It's high time to find today's pioneers and promote them," he adds.
His feeling is echoed by another jury member, Peter Keller, from the state secretariat in the economics ministry, "The economic future of tourism in the country depends on innovation and cooperation within the industry," he says.
"Pure Power St Moritz" is amongst the most innovative of the projects short-listed for the excellence prizes. It's described as a "strategic alliance" between the local electricity company, Rätia Energie, and the well-known resort in Graubünden.
To use the name St Moritz, the power authority has agreed to pay a licence fee based on the amount of electricity it produces. As part of the agreement, it plans to install solar panels on roofs of hotels and other tourist infrastructure in St Moritz.
The authorities in Basel City came up with a promotion that not only makes the city more appealing, but does its bit to protect the environment and save visitors searching for small change as well.
Every hotel guest in Basel is handed a "Mobility Ticket", valid on all trams and buses in and around the city for the duration of their stay.
Two hotels, which couldn't be more different, also made the shortlist. Designed by star architect, Jean Nouvel, "The Hotel" in Lucerne is strictly for adults while the "Globi Hotel" in Disentis is a children's paradise.
The ceiling in each room of the "The Hotel" is covered with scenes from erotic films, while the "Globi Hotel" includes rooms where the favourite comic book character of the same name comes to life.
The Milestone Prize is supported by the tourism industry newspaper, "Hotel Tourismus Revue", the Swiss Tourism Federation and the state secretariat in the economics ministry.
by Dale Bechtel
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