The prestigious Milestone Prizes, which recognise innovation and excellence in Swiss tourism, have been awarded at a ceremony in Bern.This content was published on October 30, 2001 - 20:59
The first prize went to Yvan Aymon for his project "Excellence in the Valais", which the jury said motivates small and medium sized businesses in the canton to live up to quality control standards. Aymon was awarded SFr10,000 ($6,188).
The winner of the best newcomer category went to Ladina Giovanoli, a product manager for Switzerland Tourism in Zurich. She was awarded SFr10,000 for her work on the organisation's Autumn 2000 campaign, which she conceived.
Monica and Dominique Thommy-Kneschaurek took away the prize for outstanding lifetime achievement for their so-called "art" hotel in Basel - the "Teufelhof" - which has been operating for 25 years.
Making the Jura tick
Another top contender to walk away with a Milestone Award worth SFr5,000 was "Watch Valley", a nickname for the Jura region in western Switzerland where most of the country's watchmakers are based.
"Watch Valley" is the result of close collaboration between six tourist organisations in five regions, and includes a tourist trail highlighting the tradition of watchmaking.
The winners were chosen from 15 projects exemplifying the industry's efforts to remain competitive in the 21st century. The prize was created last year by the Swiss hotel and tourism associations, and is backed by the Swiss Economics Ministry.
This year short-listed projects ranged from modest hotels and restaurants to cross-border cooperative ventures designed to make Switzerland more attractive to the discerning tourist.
Beauty beyond borders
One popular contender was the "BodenseeErlebniskarte" (Lake Constance Experience Pass).
The pass was the result of a pact signed by tourism officials in the four countries surrounding Lake Constance, and comes from their view that the beauty of the region knows no borders.
The pass has a built-in electronic chip and can be used for access to museums, exhibitions, tours and public transport, whether the facilities are in Switzerland, Austria, Germany or Liechtenstein.
Unesco Biosphere reserve
Another contender was the Entlebuch region in central Switzerland, the country's first Unesco Biosphere Reserve, where towns and villages off the beaten track are trying to make a name for themselves by promoting sustainability in the way they do business.
Moorlands, meadows and karst geological formations cover nearly half the total area of the Entlebuch, and the people living in the region believe their continued protection, if marketed wisely, can have economic benefits for the local population.
swissinfo with agencies
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