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Swiss Unesco sites join forces

(Keystone)

Switzerland's 11 Unesco sites, which include the old town of the capital Bern, are to work together to promote themselves as tourist sites.

They have founded the Unesco Destination Switzerland association which will support sustainable and high quality tourism both within the country and abroad.

For this purpose, the new association is planning to work with Switzerland Tourism and the Swiss Unesco Commission. A first campaign is planned for 2010.

"The Unesco label incarnates the values which we are defending, such as sustainable tourism and quality," said Thomas Lüthi, deputy director of Bern Tourism and president of the new association.

"Unesco means impressive and uncontaminated landscapes, original buildings, cultural treasures and tradition. This is what modern tourism is looking for. It's a return to the roots."

Switzerland gained its tenth Unesco World Heritage site earlier in 2009 when the watchmaking centres of La Chaux-de-Fonds and Le Locle in French-speaking Switzerland were given world heritage status.

Other sites include castles in Bellinzona, the convents of St Gallen and St John at Müstair and the Jungfrau-Altesch-Bietschhorn glacier region. The Entlebuch Biosphere is the first and – as yet – only natural area to be listed as such by Unesco in Switzerland.

In July it was announced that Switzerland was leading a bid to add pile dwellings in the alpine region to the World Heritage list.

Six countries have submitted a joint application to register more than 150 stilt houses dating back to between 5,000 and 800 BC. The United Nations culture organisation is due to decide on the project in 2011.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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