Swiss Support a 2026 Olympic Winter Games Bid, New Survey Suggests

Swiss OlympicA domestic campaign by Swiss Olympic to potentially choose a candidate to host the 2026 Olympic Winter Games got a boost this week when a new survey showed the Swiss are generally behind the plans.

Amid a second planning seminar in Berne involving five proposed regional projects for the Games, a DemoSCOPE survey revealed that 57 per cent in Switzerland would support a bid to host the Olympic Games.

That’s an improvement over a 2013 referendum that saw the Davos – St. Moritz 2022 Winter Games bid defeated when only 47 per cent were behind the project.  A Berne bid for the 2010 Games was forced to withdraw after less than 25 per cent voted to support it in a mid-campaign referendum in 2002.

Further details from the telephone survey taken among about 1000 residents from June 28 to July 2 reveal that a Games bid is particularly favourable with young people and those in Western Switzerland.  Additionally 66 per cent believe that a Swiss bid would be competitive against international rivals and 75 per cent believe that a successful bid would help boost the tourism industry.

While, according to the survey, 66 per cent believe the use of existing infrastructure to support the Games will be effective, 59 per cent think a regional bid would be more effective than a city-centered concept.  Only 55 per cent, however, agreed that the taxpayer costs would outweigh the benefits that the Games could bring.

The survey results are accurate within 3.1 percentage points.

St. Moritz, Switzerland residents rejected a 2022 Olympic Winter Games bid

St. Moritz, Switzerland residents rejected a 2022 Olympic Winter Games bid

The seminar focused on issues around “National and International visions for a Swiss Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games” and was geared to help the five campaigns prepare the final bid documents due into Swiss Olympic by December 15.  Two more seminars will be held in September and October.

The five regional concepts in the running are “Swiss Made Olympic Games” (Western part of Switzerland), “OIympische Winterspiele 2026 Graubtinden und Partner” (Eastern part of Switzerland), “Zentralschweiz 2026” (Central Switzerland), “Switzerland 2026” and “2026 — Games for our future” and will be further vetted next year with site visits and local referendums where necessary.  The International Olympic Committee (IOC) deadline for nominations will be late 2017.

At the seminar helping guide the campaigns as they prepare their bids was renowned Olympic marketing expert Michael Payne, the former IOC Marketing Director.

He said Thursday “I want to sincerely congratulate Swiss Olympic for this innovative process which approach is new in the Olympic world.”

“The fact that an important winter sports nation in the heart of Europe can produce interest from 5 separate regions, and engage in an open and constructive dialogue about the positive impact that the Games can have on an economy and on a society, is proof that the Olympic Movement is in very good health. I hope that other countries will get inspiration from this process and I wish the best of luck to Switzerland for 2026.”

If a Swiss candidate is chosen to move forward it will likely face tough international rivals including bids being considered from Calgary in Canada and the 2022 Games runner-up Almaty, Kazakhstan.  Entries from Germany and Italy are also being considered.

The IOC is expected to elect the 2026 Olympic Winter Games host city in 2019.

Robert Livingstone

About Robert Livingstone

Robert Livingstone is a senior editor, award-nominated journalist and author, covering Olympic bid business as founder of GamesBids.com as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. He is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians. Follow him @enotsgnivil

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