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The Matterhorn The market value of a myth

The iconic Matterhorn transformed Zermatt from an unknown alpine village to a world renowned tourist destination. (SRF, swissinfo.ch)

The Matterhorn is one of the most famous mountains in the world, if not the most recognisable, because of its unmistakable profile.

Zermatt, the town at its feet, owes its fame to the Matterhorn. The mountain was first conquered 150 years ago. Since then, Zermatt has attracted tourists and climbers from all over the world.

An unexpected boost to Zermatt’s fame came from a tragic accident during the first ascent of the Matterhorn in 1865. Three English climbers and a French guide were killed on the descent when one of them slipped and pulled the others with him.

News of the triumph and tragedy flashed around the world, and Zermatt and the Matterhorn have held a special fascination for many people ever since.

Today Zermatt generates half a billion francs in tourism revenue per year. In 2014 alone, 1.2 million overnight stays were booked in the resort’s hotels.