Snow joke: anger over Swiss MP’s ‘anti-tourist’ comments

A top politician with the conservative Swiss People's Party (SVP) has sparked outrage with a tweet complaining about the number of visitors at a top tourist destination.

Snow joke: anger over Swiss MP’s 'anti-tourist' comments
Tourists on Switzerland's Jungfraujoch mountain in August 2018. File photo: AFP

Thomas Aeschi, who heads up the SVP party in the Swiss parliament made his controversial comments after a recent skiing trip to the Engelberg-Titlis mountain area in central Switzerland.

In a tweet, he said: “Overtourism on the Engelberg-Titlis. As a skier, you can hardly get to the summit.”

“Schengen and Dublin cost Switzerland more than they bring us. And we need to control our own immigration again,” the politician added, referring to the fraught relationship between Switzerland and the EU.

Read also: Why referendum on guns threatens Swiss membership of Schengen

Aeschi’s SVP party has repeatedly campaigned for tighter controls on immigration and has backed a referendum calling for an end to free movement of people between the EU and Switzerland.

But his comments about the queues at Engelberg-Titlis met with a frosty reception, especially given the struggles of the Swiss ski industry in recent years.

“And you call yourself a member of a business party. Stay home next time. That would help everyone,” one Twitter user replied to Aeschi’s tweet.

“How many asylum seekers are there on the Titlis?” another Twitter user asked.

Another Twitter account holder said it was all about gaining attention during an election year. Switzerland is set to go to the polls in October.

Meanwhile, the head of marketing for Titlis-Bergbahnen cable cars, Peter Reinle, conceded there was sometimes a waiting time to go up the mountain on busy days.

But in comments made to ch media in he said it was “strange that a business-oriented politician would put his political opinions above the health of the Swiss tourism industry”.

Reinle also noted that thanks to foreign guests, and especially Asians, the ski season on Titlis could run until the end of May.

Without these visitors, the season would be a month shorter as it would not be profitable to operate lifts, he explained.

The Titlis cable car installations are soon set for a major revamp with star Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron behind the project.

Read also: Swiss city gears up to combat 'latent resentment' towards tourists



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Five European cities you can reach from Zurich in less than five hours by train

Switzerland is a beautiful country, but it also has a great location right in the centre of Europe, making it an ideal starting point for train travel. Here are five destinations you can reach in less than five hours from Zurich.

Five European cities you can reach from Zurich in less than five hours by train

As summer is still in full swing and there are many vacation days (or free weekends) to enjoy the sunny weather, it’s not the wrong time to do some travelling. Switzerland is a beautiful country, but it’s also centrally located in Europe. This means that many major European cities are reachable in just a few hours.

If you are located in Zurich, for example, then you are very near Germany, France, Italy, Liechtenstein and Austria. In less than five hours, visiting beautiful cities in these five countries is possible by taking a comfortable train ride.

So, select your final destination, get your ticket, and enjoy the ride.

READ ALSO: Switzerland’s ten most beautiful villages you have to visit

From Zurich to Strasbourg

It will take you just about 2 hours and 30 minutes (including time to stop and change trains in Basel) to get from Zurich’s mains station to the beautiful and historical city of Strasbourg, in northeast France.

Prices vary depending on several factors, but we found one-way tickets for just around CHF 23 on a Friday.

From Zurich to Munich

The capital of Bavaria can be reached from Zurich’s central station on a direct train in just 3 hours 30 minutes, allowing for short stays.

Munich may seem quite far away on a map, but the fast trains without stopovers actually make the journey quick and pleasant. We found one-way tickets for around CHF 70 on a Friday trip.

From Zurich to Vaduz

The capital of Liechtenstein is easy to reach in less than 2 hours from the Zurich central station. In fact, some journeys will take just about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

The lovely town bordering Switzerland has many tourist attractions, from its pedestrian historical centre to castles and parks. Train ticket prices always vary, but we found tickets for a one-way journey on a Friday costing CHF 20.

READ ALSO: Travel: What are the best night train routes to and from Switzerland?

From Zurich to Milan

Depending on the train you take, you can get from Zurich to Italy’s fashion capital in three to four hours with a direct train.

Before 2016, when the Gotthard Base Tunnel was opened to rail traffic, a trip from Zurich to Milan took an hour longer. It’s possible to find tickets for about CHF 70 for a one-way trip on a Friday.

From Zurich to Innsbruck

From Zurich, it is possible to hop on a direct train and, in just over 3 hours and 30 minutes, arrive in the beautiful town of Innsbruck, in the mountains of Tyrol.

Ticket costs vary, but we found tickets for a relatively short-notice one-way trip on a Friday (without discounts) for CHF 84.

READ ALSO: Five beautiful Swiss villages located near Alpine lakes


Fares depend on several factors, such as time of the day and day of the week when you travel.

While a rock-bottom cheap fare may be available one day in the morning, it won’t necessarily be offered the next day (or week) in the afternoon, or vice-versa.

Prices also depend on whether you are entitled to any discounts and which wagon you choose.

If you are interested in travelling farther afield, including with night trains, or if you are in other Swiss cities, these articles provide more information: