World Travelling Guide
World Travelling Guide



Accommodation in Southern Africa and South Africa including accommodation in Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo Province, North West Province, Free State, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga

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Switzerland Travelling Guide
Switzerland Travelling Guide

General background: Switzerland's independence and neutrality have long been honored by the major European powers and Switzerland was not involved in either of the two World Wars. The political and economic integration of Europe over the past half century, as well as Switzerland's role in many UN and international organizations has strengthened Switzerland's ties with its neighbors. Switzerland is active in many UN and international organizations, but retains a strong commitment to neutrality.

Area comparative: Slightly less than twice the size of New Jersey.

Climate: Temperate, but varies with altitude; cold, cloudy, rainy/snowy winters; cool to warm, cloudy, humid summers with occasional showers.

Terrain: Mostly mountains (Alps in south, Jura in northwest) with a central plateau of rolling hills, plains, and large lakes

Population: 7,301,994 (July 2002 est.)

Ethnic groups: German 65%, French 18%, Italian 10%, Romansch 1%, other 6%

Religions: Roman Catholic 46.1%, Protestant 40%, other 5%, none 8.9% (1990)

Language: German (official) 63.7%, French (official) 19.2%, Italian (official) 7.6%, Romansch 0.6%, other 8.9%

Government type: Federal republic

Capital: Bern

Legal system: Civil law system influenced by customary law; judicial review of legislative acts, except with respect to federal decrees of general obligatory character; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations.

Economic overview: Switzerland is a prosperous and stable modern market economy with a per capita GDP higher than that of the big western European economies. The Swiss in recent years have brought their economic practices largely into conformity with the EU's to enhance their international competitiveness. Although the Swiss are not pursuing full EU membership in the near term, in 1999 Bern and Brussels signed agreements to further liberalize trade ties. They continue to discuss further areas for cooperation. Switzerland remains a safe haven for investors, because it has maintained a degree of bank secrecy and has kept up the franc's long-term external value. The GDP growth rate dipped to 1.6% in 2001, and the government projects that it will slow further to 1.3% in 2002.

Communication/Telephone system: Excellent domestic and international services.

Places of interest: The Alps together with pristine lakes and picturesque towns.

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