Navigation

Skiplink Navigation

Main Features

Americans go cock-a-hoop over campaign

A model of Switzerland's most famous farmgirl, Heidi

(Keystone)

If you’re young, hip and into all things Swiss, Switzerland Tourism may just have the site for you.

Its recently launched site, HowdyHeidi, tracks down all things Swiss: from a solar messenger bag that allows you to charge your mobile phone on the go to an iPhone application that tracks swimming areas and the weather in Switzerland.

“We want to illustrate a different, younger point of view of Switzerland which covers topics that go beyond our classic travel information [such as] style, art, fashion, architecture, and trends,” Alex Herrmann, the North American director of Switzerland Tourism, told swissinfo.ch.

The ultimate goal is to increase interest in Switzerland as a travel and vacation destination, he said, by presenting “exciting and sometimes unexpected stories” targeted mainly at an American audience.

To leverage the popularity of social media, he chose Switzerland's most successful blogger, Tina Roth Eisenberg, as the voice for HowdyHeidi, described on the site as a “buzzing visual archive pointing you to all things Swiss”.

A talented crower

Roth Eisenberg, who has lived in New York for over ten years, draws inspiration from her Swiss roots. Her popular design blog swiss-miss.com is the Swiss blog with the highest traffic, according to a number of media sources.

For this project, Roth Eisenberg has asked those good old-fashioned Swiss cows to step aside: she's designed a rooster as the mascot for the site, casting against stereotype.

“The rooster wakes everyone up in the morning and tells them what's going on. He's 'in the know',” Roth Eisenberg told swissinfo.ch. The name HowdyHeidi refers to the all-American greeting "Howdy" and "Heidi", the all-Swiss girl.

The posts on HowdyHeidi are short and sweet – usually only a few sentences – with images, short descriptions and useful links, many focusing on things to do and see in Switzerland.

There are some quirky posts as well – inflected with a touch of humour – on the popular Swiss Rakete (Rocket) ice lolly, a book called the “The Xenophobe’s Guide to the Swiss” and a time-lapse movie showing a circus tent being set up in St Gallen.

Swiss fans

While HowdyHeidi works to build up its North American audience, it has already gained a solid following in Switzerland. Roth Eisenberg says she has received several messages and seen tweets – HowdyHeidi is on Twitter – by Swiss people complimenting her on the site.

“I have a lot of readers in Switzerland and they're saying 'HowdyHeidi makes me proud to be Swiss’,” Roth Eisenberg said.

One reader in Zurich found out about an open house at the Kunsthaus Zurich fine arts museum through HowdyHeidi, somewhat surprised that he discovered a local event on a blog run in New York.

Building an audience in Switzerland is just fine with Roth Eisenberg; in fact, it's part of the plan. She's looking to grow a network of Swiss contributors to send her ideas and photographs.

“A lot of these posts include places I've been to in Switzerland, but it's a bit of a challenge as I'm sitting here in New York,” she said. “Don’t hesitate to say ‘grüezi’ or send a yodel our way,” she says on the site.

Roth Eisenberg calls HowdyHeidi a “dream project”, adding that Switzerland Tourism has completely embraced her ideas for the site. “They're very forward thinking. They're stepping way out of their usual bounds.”

All that forward thinking could mean HowdyHeidi could change Switzerland's image away from yodelling competitions, fondue nights and cow bells – at least if that rooster has his way.

Karin Kamp in New York, swissinfo.ch

Key facts

The tourism sector generates employment equivalent to about 138,000 full-time jobs in Switzerland. (2005 data)

Tourism is the fourth-largest export industry, generating revenues of SFr15.6 billion ($14.7 billion).

The top five destinations for Americans visiting Switzerland are: Zurich, Geneva, Lucerne, Interlaken and Zermatt.

The first big wave of US tourists came to Switzerland following the Second World War when American GIs came for rest and relaxation programmes.

end of infobox

Neuer Inhalt

Horizontal Line


SWI swissinfo.ch on Instagram

SWI swissinfo.ch on Instagram

SWI swissinfo.ch on Instagram

subscription form

Form for signing up for free newsletter.

Sign up for our free newsletters and get the top stories delivered to your inbox.









Click here to see more newsletters