On 1 July 2023, a new gondola connecting Switzerland and Italy was opened. The new high altitude cable car, which connects the Kleiner Matterhorn (3,821m) with the Testa Grigia (3,458m) spans the border between two nations. The lift cabins have glass floors allowing occupants a birds eye view over the Theodul glacier.
In winter it is possible to ski between the two countries. Now it will be possible to cross the border throughout the year without skis.
This creates new tourism opportunities for Zermatt. It will make the Alpine resort much more accessible from the Italian side. “We are targeting day trippers from Turin or Milan, for example, who like to come to the cool mountains in summer,” Markus Hasler, the CEO of Bergbahnen Zermatt told SRF. The lift also provides access to Zermatt’s summer skiing.
However, not everyone is happy about the new lift. Christophe Clivaz, a parliamentarian from the Green party, sees a risk of excessive tourism. He told SRF that he thinks the new lift will draw whistle stop tourists that quickly pass through Zermatt spending hardly anything in the town’s hotels and restaurants.
Hasler disagrees with this perspective. He does not thinks the new lift will bring mass tourism. The price of tickets will certainly attract only those with deep pockets. A return trip from Zermatt to the Italian resort of Cervinia costs CHF 240. Imagine the cost of a day trip to Zermatt for lunch for an Italian family. The new section linking the two countries takes 4 minutes. Both ways that comes out at CHF 30 per minute, if the lift links to and from the new lift are ignored.
Zermatt’s lift company has spent plenty on the project. At double the original budget, CHF 65 million was spent turning the plan into a reality.
SRF article (in German)