Zermatt and the Matterhorn Group AG
Toward the end of the 19th century, the remote small mountain village of Zermatt had become an up-and-coming summer health resort. Wealthy city-dwellers would withdraw, often for several weeks at a time, to this retreat in the mountains for their summer holidays.
In 1864, the civil community of Zermatt acquired its first hotel. It purchased the Zermattsited Hotel Riffelberg, able to accommodate 18 guests, which had been constructed 10 years previously by 3 Zermatt pastors. From the years 1876 – 1879 the civic community built the Grand Hotel Zermatterhof, then the largest hotel in the village with 94 rooms and 150 beds.
In order for the community not to have to bear an excessive debt burden, the Zermatt burghers had to agree to contribute their labour on a voluntary basis during the construction of the hotel. In return for their non-profitable labour, the use of the hotel however became an anchored right, a right which still exists today. With the further development of tourism and the rise in popularity of winter sports, such ‘burgher establishments’ became increasingly numerous.
In the meantime, the citizenry has come to own and operate various hotels, group accommodation facilities, waited restaurants, self-service restaurants, (snow) bars and souvenir shops. In addition, it leases out various commercial sites and premises in the village and in the mountain region of Zermatt.
Since 1996, the hotels and restaurants of the Zermatt civic community have marketed themselves externally under the ‘Matterhorn Group’ banner.
Today, the Matterhorn Group is one of the largest employers in the region and employs approx. 300 staff from 30 nations in the winter.