Initially, the Gornergrat Railway operated only between June and September, i.e. on 122 operating days. It was not until 1928/29 that the trains ran in the winter season for the first time. Only having trains in the summer is unthinkable these days. Nevertheless, we ran through the scenario with Daniel Luggen, spa director of the Zermatt-Matterhorn destination.
What would it mean for tourism if we were to switch from year-round operations to 122 operating days again?
Daniel Luggen:“I think our entire basis of life would change. Today we can work in tourism all year round and make a living from it. And it used to be a part-time job. If we had to start viewing tourism this way again, it would mean that we would all have to look for a different job. Or buy ourselves animals such as cows or goats and devote ourselves to farming.”
What kind of job would you choose if tourism were just a sideline?
Daniel Luggen: “In the 122 days, I would work in tourism, perhaps in information. After all, you would probably no longer need a spa director advertising all over the world and you would be able to find plenty to do locally. I currently own four cows. I’d buy four more and probably take care of the cows for the rest of the year. Somewhere on a beautiful alp, making hay and taking care of the animals.”
How important is the Gornergrat Railway for the region?
Daniel Luggen: “The Gornergrat Railway is a flagship for our destination. It is known all over the world and a popular excursion destination. Many people come to Zermatt to take a trip to the Gornergrat, visit the glaciers and enjoy the beautiful panorama. Collaboration with the Gornergrat Railway is therefore also very important to us as it means we can work together in the marketplace, promote our destination and encourage people to spend their holidays with us.”