"Highest Alpine Crossing by Cable Car Opens: New Luxury Connection between Switzerland and Italy"

news 01-Jul-2023 Europe

Highest Alpine Crossing by Cable Car Opens

A new cable car at nearly 4,000 meters above sea level completes the connection between Switzerland and Italy. The tour was previously only possible on skis. The operator promises luxury - critics fear "overtourism".

"Matterhorn Glacier Ride II" - A Spectacular Connection

Joy in the mountains near Zermatt at the official opening of the new cable car: The Zermatt Mountain Railways have named it "Matterhorn Glacier Ride II." From the Klein Matterhorn mountain station at over 3,800 meters above sea level, it descends to Testa Grigia in Italy. The operator refers to it as the "highest continuous Alpine crossing by cable car."

Premium Gondolas with Design Appeal

Adorned with "thousands of glowing crystals" and featuring "comfortable seats inspired by automotive design," the Zermatt Mountain Railways advertise the "premium gondolas." A spectacular close-up view of the Matterhorn is included.

Spectacular Price and Target Audience

The price is also spectacular: 240 Swiss francs, equivalent to around 246 euros, for the complete round trip from Zermatt in Switzerland to Cervinia in Italy. The target audience is wealthy Swiss and international tourists, stated Franz Julen, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Zermatt Mountain Railways, on Swiss broadcaster SRF.

Tour Previously Reserved for Skiers

According to Julen, visitors can spend a day in Cervinia, go biking, shopping, play golf, and enjoy the magnificent mountain scenery. "We are convinced that we will have many excursion guests from Italy. Metropolises like Milan and Turin are very close. And the third segment includes Asian and American guests, as well as guests from the Middle East."

In the new luxury cable car, guests from all over the world can now float over the Theodul Glacier, covering 1.6 kilometers in just four minutes - an alpine tour that was previously only possible on skis.

Criticism of the Cable Car

Not everyone in the canton of Valais is enthusiastic about it. There is talk of "Disneyfication" of the Alps. If tourists can now "pass by the Matterhorn in sandals," it has little to do with genuine mountaineering tourism, criticized Green Party politician Christophe Clivaz.

He also fears that even more guests could lead to "overtourism" in Zermatt, which is already well-visited: too much tourism, similar to places like Venice.

Company Emphasizes Luxury Tourism

The responsible managers in Zermatt disagree: They aim for luxury tourism, not mass tourism. "For many years, Zermatt has stood for quality, service, and an appropriate price. We will continue to avoid mass tourism. We owe that to the Zermatt brand," added Julen.

By the way, a 20-minute helicopter tour around the Matterhorn is slightly cheaper than the ride on the new luxury cable car in Zermatt. It is available for 220 Swiss francs, equivalent to around 225 euros.

In the initial version, the quotes in the article were attributed to Markus Hasler, CEO of the Zermatt Mountain Railways. However, they are from Franz Julen, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Zermatt Mountain Railways. We have corrected the text accordingly.

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