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Ground breaking Will Andermatt’s new ski resort be a boost or mistake?

Work is finally beginning on a new ski development in eastern Switzerland, where locals hope to revive the region’s tourism industry. (SRF/swissinfo.chexternal link

The new ski area will offer 120 kilometres of runs and connect the village of Andermatt in canton Uri with Sedrun across the Oberalp pass in Graubünden.

The facilities will cost CHF200 million to build and will create the biggest ski area in central Switzerland. 

The construction of the first link between Andermatt and Sedrun starts this summer and is due to open in the next ski season. The whole resort should be ready by 2020.

One of the main investors in the new facilities is the Egyptian entrepreneur Samih Sawiris, who is developing a luxury ski and golf resort in Andermatt.

The total revamp could restore Andermatt’s reputation as a resort to which notable people flock: Goethe, Dickens, Conan Doyle, Mendelssohn, Wagner, Elvis Presley, Queen Victoria, Ulysses S Grant and Winston Churchill have all visited the resort in the past.

On the other hand, this could also be a white elephant. Some experts say it’s very risky to invest so much in a Swiss ski resort when the franc is so strong and other alpine resorts are fighting to attract visitors from abroad.