Swiss cleaning bug reaches new peaks

Thu May 28, 2009 1:31pm EDT
 
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ZURICH (Reuters) - A Swiss holiday resort is offering mountain-cleaning courses after an April fools spoof caught the imagination of a nation known for its cleanliness, the tourism board said Thursday.

Authorities in Engelberg, an idyllic ski resort where tens of thousands of skiers come annually, said the April fools joke had such global impact that they were now using it as a marketing tool to attract holidaymakers.

"We are offering four weekend courses after which participants can call themselves qualified mountain cleaners," Modeste Jossen, Engelberg cable car services director, said. Participants are awarded a special 'mountain-cleaner badge'.

On April 1 this year, the national tourism board aired an online video to recruit mountain cleaners to keep the country's Alpine peaks in pristine condition all year round.

The video was translated into six languages and more than 30,000 people completed the spoof application to become a mountain cleaner in the first 24 hours of it being posted.

"The full spot was aired on the French and Italian evening news and more than 100 million people have seen it since," Jossen said, adding: "This global interest can really be used to our advantage."

Cleanliness and tidiness are entrenched in the culture of Switzerland, where many households still set aside one day a week solely for washing and doing housework.

(Reporting by Josie Cox)

 
<p>A view of skiers amid a Swiss mountain range in a file photo. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann</p>