A new high-speed railway link under the Swiss Alps has generated a massive boost to tourism in the southwestern Valais region.
The local tourist board said the number of passengers travelling through the 35km Lötschberg tunnel had increased by about 30 per cent in the past three months.
Up to 20,000 passengers travel to Valais at weekends, and some mountain lift and railway companies recorded a 60 per cent increase in passenger numbers, according to officials.
They called for a two-tunnel system to be built through the Lötschberg to deal with growing international rail traffic passing through Switzerland.
The authorities say more than a quarter of people in Valais work in the tourist sector. Valais is a traditional holiday mountain region that includes the resorts of Verbier and Zermatt.
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