At the beginning of July 2019, the two tourist associations Switzerland Tourism and HotellerieSuisse published the information guide «Jewish guests in Switzerland.» The aim of the guide is to raise awareness about the Jewish culture, tradition and religion as well as the diversity of Jewish life. At the same time, the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities (SIG) is publishing an information guide for Jewish guests which explains Swiss culture and should help them understand local behavior. Both guides are measures of the 2019 Likrat Public Summer project.
Jewish guests from all over the world have been coming to Switzerland for centuries, mainly to spend their holidays in the Swiss Alps. When different cultures meet each other, there are always questions, uncertainties and even misunderstandings. This is where Likrat Public comes in - it aims to encourage mutual understanding through dialogue and knowledge transfer. The project relies on mediators, or Likratinos, as they are known. Since the project was started four years ago, Likratinos have already been visiting some organizations and companies with Jewish customers. This summer, Likrat Public wants to go one step further. The project wants to commit even more intensively to promoting communication and understanding between the local population and Jewish guests. As such, different measures and aids were tried and prepared and will soon be implemented.
The tourism associations share knowledge about Jewish life
There have been Jews and Jewish culture in Switzerland for centuries. Public knowledge of what makes up and is involved in this culture has often only been weakly developed. Adding to the complication is that Jewish guests come to Switzerland from a wide range of different countries with their own cultural influences. The tourism associations Swiss Tourism and hotelleriesuisse have been providing information guides for specific groups of guests for many years. This year, a guide for Jewish guests will also be released. The goal is to provide information about the Jewish culture, tradition and religion and to give employees in the tourism industry a better understanding. The guide covers Judaism in a wider sense and shows the diversity within this group of guests. The SIG contributed to the production of the content as an advisor and partner. The guide is provided in a packet with the other guides about international guests to hotels, apartment rental companies, and public facilities such as cable cars and tourist information offices.
The SIG shares knowledge and tips on holidays in Switzerland
All parties involved need information and understanding. The SIG is therefore issuing its own guide aimed at Jewish guests. In it, the readers are helped to understand Swiss characteristics and behaviors. It also has practical tips to make their stay in Switzerland as easy as possible. The goal of these guides is also to increase knowledge and understanding. The SIG worked closely with the Jewish community in Zurich to produce the guides and also liaised with the local Tourism associations. The guides for guests are in English, French, Hebrew and Yiddish. They will be distributed amongst destinations who welcome many Jewish guests and will also be available to download.
Likrat Public to provide mediators directly and on site
As the third measure for this project, Likrat Public will be sending mediators to Arosa, Davos and the Saastal from August 12 to September 1. This is so that they can meet a requirement of the tourism industry and expand the offer of Likrat encounters to direct and low-threshold mediator work and facilitate dialogue on site. The guides serve as basic information which can be supplemented with the opportunity to ask Likratinos questions in person or draw on their support. Likrat Public and the SIG have been working towards the realization of this project for two years now; they have found committed partners for these initiatives and are now preparing to equip themselves for the high season in August when they will welcome Jewish guests to Switzerland.