Andermatt target for luxury development

1st May 2007, by Chris Gill

From small Swiss village to elegant alpine retreat: that is what Andermatt could become if an Egyptian billionaire gets his way.

Photo: Andermatt TourismOne of the Middle East’s biggest hotel groups has chosen Andermatt as the site for a luxury development - and it seems that the locals might favour the arrival.

The quiet resort in southern Switzerland used to be a hub for military training. Resident troops sustained the local economy for many years until defence cut-backs meant most of them left the region and the area experienced a decline in popularity.

The ski area attracts mainly weekend visitors to its quiet slopes and attractive centre; during the week it can be deserted. A new development could transform the resort.

The owner of Egypt’s Orascom hotel chain is reported to have bought some of the former army land in Andermatt and wants to build five luxury hotels, various apartments and a leisure complex on the site.

Many of the local residents have already approved the project, which would bring a large number of jobs to the region should it go ahead. Andermatt also enjoys a convenient location in a valley served by good road and rail links - with easy access from Zurich and Chur.

If all goes to plan, construction would begin in 2008/09.

Andermatt is part of the Gotthard Oberalp Arena, which offers 130km/81 miles of pistes (including Sedrun - unlinked, but just a short train ride along the valley). Its local mountains offer three separate ski areas - mostly steep and challenging pistes, attracting experts and powder-hounds.

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