Swiss officials have described the comments as "defamatory"
Swiss officials have described the comments as "defamatory"

Swiss police guilty of racial profiling, says Lonely Planet

The comments have angered Swiss officials

Joanna Whitehead
Monday 25 June 2018 11:52

A Lonely Planet guide to Switzerland which stated that BAME people are more likely to be stopped and searched by police while in the country has upset Swiss tourism officials.

The popular travel guide and website made the following observation: “Swiss police aren't very visible but have a reputation for performing random street searches of questionable necessity on people of non-European background or appearance.”

The comments were highlighted in an article published by Vice on its German-language website.

Markus Berger, a spokesperson for Switzerland Tourism, told “Unsubstantiated allegations like this are defamatory. Switzerland is very secure, and that is an important reason why people visit our country.”

Lonely Planet told The Independent that their authors “are tasked with telling it like it is, without fear or favour” in an effort to keep travellers safe and get the best from their experience.

“Our current description of police practices in Switzerland including random street searches on people of non-European background or appearance, which appears in both our printed edition and online, originally dates from 2012 but was most recently updated in 2017, at which point our writers were still receiving reports that this sometimes still happens.

“We are aware, however, that destinations are constantly changing and we have a duty to reflect that. We research on the ground regularly to ensure our content is as up to date as possible and re-assess our descriptions each time we update our guides. We will have writers on the ground in Switzerland within the next three months to update our content on the country.

“It is our priority to provide an honest and unbiased account of any given destination to travellers, so they have the information they need to get the best out of their trip. With that in mind, we cannot make promises about what future descriptions will say, but we do recognise that destinations can change significantly during our research cycle and will always reflect that in updates.“

Switzerland has struggled to attract tourists in recent years due to the strength of the franc. The country receives almost three per cent of its gross domestic product from the tourist industry.

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