Valais citizens divided over 2026 Winter Olympics bid

The bid by Sion would see events spread across the cantons of Valais, Vaud, Bern and Fribourg Keystone

With canton Valais heading for a key June 10 vote on Sion’s 2026 Winter Olympics bid, an opinion poll shows the “yes” and “no” votes running neck and neck. 

This content was published on May 4, 2018 - 20:48

47% of people questioned said they would vote “no” on June 10, compared with 46% who said yes, according to a poll conducted by the M.I.S Trend InstituteExternal link for five regional media. Since the margin of error is 3%, the outcome of the vote is still impossible to predict. 

The question being put to voters is whether canton Valais should allocate CHF100 million ($99.9 million) for the Sion 2026 Winter Olympics bid. Since funding is key, the outcome of the cantonal vote is likely to be decisive. 

Supporters of the bid see the advantages in terms of international visibility, boosting tourism and renewal of infrastructure, the poll found. Those against cited mainly fears of budget overruns and debts. Some also expressed concerns about the potential negative effects on the environment. 

+ Read more about the Sion 2026 Winter Olympics bid

The Swiss Olympic Committee and the Swiss government are backing a joint proposal by Sion, the capital of canton Valais, to host the 2026 Winter Games spread across the cantons of Valais, Vaud, Bern and Fribourg and based largely on existing infrastructure. Last October, the Swiss government promised to contribute almost CHF1 billion if it is chosen. 

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