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Options tabled to improve Swiss image abroad

Four options have been put on the table to improve coordination.

(swissinfo/L. Schäublin)

The Swiss government has presented a series of options designed to improve coordination of promoting Switzerland's image abroad.

These could go as far as merging organisations including Presence Switzerland, Switzerland Tourism, Location Switzerland and swissinfo – the internet platform that informs Swiss abroad.

Economics Minister Joseph Deiss said that because of increasing competition from abroad, promotion of Switzerland was more important than ever.

The government last year spent SFr88 million ($67.6 million) on such promotion.

A report, approved by the government on Friday, puts forward four models.

The most modest, named "contract of cooperation", foresees a programme of closer cooperation lasting for a number of years among the four organisations.

Together with other government promotional bodies, they would produce communication material together and cooperate in logistics and shared services.

Management company

Another model - "holding" – would go further by creating a management company that could provide a unified leadership.

It would manage the strategy for the organisations concerned and offer a platform for common services.

Two other options would go even further and entail the creation of a company named, for example, "Switzerland Promotion". But it is not clear how many organisations would be in it.

Another model would merge all the promotion bodies financed by the government.

This would not only include the organisations promoting the image of Switzerland, but also Osec Business Network Switzerland, the programmes of the Arts Council, Pro Helvetia, and the offices that promote agricultural sales.

Added value

In a reaction to the options tabled, Osec Business Switzerland in Zurich said that it welcomed efforts to create synergies and reduce costs.

But Osec director Daniel Küng said that efforts had to make sense and provide added value for Swiss companies.

"We feel that with a merger of such diverse organisations dealing with export promotion, tourism promotion, image promotion and culture promotion, this would not be the case," he said in a statement.

swissinfo with agencies

In brief

The mandate of Presence Switzerland is to convey knowledge about Switzerland, to create understanding and empathy for the country and to highlight its diversity and attractiveness.

Location Switzerland was created by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs to help foreign companies set up business in Switzerland.

Switzerland Tourism promotes the Swiss tourist industry.

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