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Positive first six months for Presence Switzerland

Johannes Matyassy, head of Presence Switzerland, (right) and Paul Reutlinger, President of Presence Switzerland, at the press conference in Bern

(Keystone)

Presence Switzerland, the government backed organisation, which promotes the country abroad, is celebrating its first six months as Switzerland's number one PR campaigner.

At a press conference in Bern on Thursday, the organisation looked back at its achievements and set out its strategy for the future.

Officials from the organisation were upbeat saying the past six months had been "positive".

Highlights of the half-year programme included the Swiss balloonist, Bertrand Piccard's, trip to South America to promote his homeland and the Swiss musicians, who played at the Caliente Festival in Cuba.

The organisation has already planned a full programme of events for the next six months which includes a student exchange between the United States and Switzerland and the launch of their British campaign called " Dialogue across the mountains", at London's Tate Modern gallery in November.

It will also play host to some 25 visiting cultural delegations by the end of the year.

The organisation strives to raise the profile of Switzerland abroad by appealing to tourists and businesses alike.

As Paul Reutlinger, the president of the organisation told swissinfo, its work draws upon many Swiss stereotypes but also highlights the more unusual idiosyncrasies of the country.

"I do not think it is our role to break the Heidiland image as it has positive elements," he said." I think we have to try to show the different images of our country which are sometimes not known."

With a SFr46 million ($25.3 million) budget for 2000 to 2003, it would be impossible for the organisation to be present in all countries meaning that certain nations are targeted more than others. The list includes the US, Great Britain, Japan and China.

swissinfo with agencies


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