Swiss region plans Jewish tourism etiquette guide

Swiss region plans Jewish tourism etiquette guide
The Swiss resort town of Davos in winter. Photo: AFP
Switzerland’s south-eastern canton of Graubünden is popular with orthodox Jewish tourists in in summer but recent incidents have threatened to upset relations among visitors.

This summer, tourism authorities in the region received a number complaints about Jewish guests. These centred on issues including members of this group leaving full nappies and rubbish in the forest during outdoor events.

The situation became so fraught that the tourism chief for the resort town of Davos, Reto Branschi wrote a strongly-worded letter to Rafael Mosbacher, his discussion partner on issues relating to Jewish visitors.

“Unfortunately, we have recently received numerous negative comments from other guests. Some of these guests want to avoid the Davos Klosters area during the summer in the future,” wrote the tourism boss in early August.

Speaking to regional daily Südostschweiz, Branschi said Davos had no problem with Jewish guests.

He explained the current problems related exclusively to the behaviour of some orthodox Jews from overseas and wanted to find a solution before the situation got worse.

Now, with the help of the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities (SIG), regional tourism authorities are planning an etiquette guide for Jewish tourists to the Swiss region.

The brochure aims to raise awareness of the needs of Jewish visitors among hoteliers while giving Jewish guests tips on what to do and what not to do.

SIG secretary-general Jonathan Kreutner told Südostschweiz there was a clear need for action. He noted, for example, that Jewish visitors might find it odd or embarrassing to be greeted by a stranger while out hiking – something which is perfectly normal in Switzerland.

There will also be a Jewish intermediary on site in the area next summer to provide advice and address problems before they escalate, Swiss media reported.

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