Turning tourism into fine art

A different view of Switzerland

A different view of Switzerland

(Keystone)

The Swiss Association of Art and Tourism has announced a new travel package devoted to the masterpieces of classical modernism.

The association, a partner organisation of Switzerland Tourism, has set out to develop what it sees as an underdeveloped sector in Swiss tourism - culture - and more specifically art.

It says that art and culture have played a secondary role in promoting the image of Switzerland as a tourist destination. The reason can be attributed to the fact that Switzerland is often seen as a mix of cultures without one major centre for important art works.

This gives the impression that there is nothing of importance in the way of art in the country, says the association. Nothing can be further from the truth. You just have to be prepared to travel to different places to see the art.

Last year the association promoted Impressionist masterpieces in Switzerland with a four-city tour of Basel, Baden, Winterthur and Zurich.

This year, an additional package is devoted to classical modernism reflecting artistic development in the first half of the 20th century. It involves nine museums in eight centres including Davos, Winterthur, Basel, Zurich, Lucerne, Berne, Oberhofen and Geneva.

The art lover can indulge his or her passion for Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Giacometti, Paul Klee or Picasso over a period of six days, while staying in hotels and eating in restaurants that reflect the spirit of the age in which the artists were active.

Altogether it creates what the association describes as a "total artistic experience".

Felix Baumann, the director of the Zurich Kunsthaus, says the programme is an important collaborative effort involving art museums, hotels, tourist associations, cities and municipalities.

"Finally, we have not just one city promoting its own art. It's the first time that this is done and it's important." Baumann added that while there is a cultural richness in Switzerland, it is scattered throughout the country.

The president of the association, Helga von Graevenitz, says the programme is aimed at a niche market of people in their 50s and over. "They have money. They have a bit more time and they are willing to travel from city to city to indulge their interest in art."

Further projects are planned. These include tours devoted to the Belle Epoque era as reflected in hotel architecture in Switzerland, the Swiss artist Ferdinand Hodler and art and nature, and
Mediaeval Swiss cities.

by Paul Sufrin


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