Development of tourism in the countryside of Central Switzerland

The end of the 18th century saw the emergence of a specific way of relating to nature that has become an integral component of modern life: the use of the countryside for travel and leisure purposes within the context of tourism. The area around Lake Lucerne was a key site of this development from the very beginning. On the one hand, the most popular destinations for the first tourists were – in addition to the Lake Geneva and Bernese Alps regions – Lucerne, Rigi and the Gotthard pass. On the other, early tourist activity led to unparalleled technical development of the countryside in relatively confined areas. The period between 1870 and 1950 saw a succession of pioneering projects which made basic tourist experiences, such as excursions, vistas, panoramas and changes of landscape, available to a mass audience. The development of transport connections was accompanied by the construction of a hotel and leisure industry infrastructure. Since the second half of the 20th century, the focus has shifted from pioneering new concepts to refining and expanding existing infrastructures and experiences. The development of the countryside and nature for tourist purposes is a non-specific cultural practice that has been firmly established in the region for over two hundred years and has a defining influence on its economy and the everyday lives and mentalities of its people.

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