In the Focus

Switzerland seen from abroad in 2017

Switzerland’s image in the foreign media was affected by various natural phenomena, including the partial collapse of the Trift glacier (Valais). Foreign media reports discussed the consequences of global warming for Switzerland, famous for its mountains, and the effectiveness of the country’s safety infrastructure.
Switzerland’s image in the foreign media was affected by various natural phenomena, including the partial collapse of the Trift glacier (Valais). Foreign media reports discussed the consequences of global warming for Switzerland, famous for its mountains, and the effectiveness of the country’s safety infrastructure. © Keystone

Financial and tax-related topics continued to draw some attention in 2017. In the absence of major scandals, the foreign media paid less attention to Switzerland than in the previous two years, but it did cover occasional tension with certain countries and various natural phenomena that affected the country.

Popular referendums, the sporting achievements of Swiss athletes (Roger Federer in particular) and the Swiss economy continued to generate interest. During this period of relative media calm, foreign coverage focused more on other aspects, such as research, science and innovation. Finally, the image of Switzerland among the general public abroad has remained rather positive, in some respects dovetailing that presented by the foreign media and in others at odds with it: Switzerland's ways of governance and attractiveness as a country in which to live, work and invest are valued and constitute, along with aspects such as innovation, clear assets in terms of image.

Finally, how countries are represented on social media also affects their international image. To take this reality into account, in 2017 Presence Switzerland carried out, for the first time, an analysis of Switzerland's presence on Instagram. It found that while the tendency of Instagram users to post images of Switzerland's landscapes boosts Switzerland's image as a country of great natural beauty, other aspects, such as urban architecture and Swiss cuisine, receive less attention.