Zermatt started life as a simple farming village, developed as a mountaineering centre in the 19th century, then became a winter resort in the late 1920's and early 1930's. Summer is still as big as winter here.
The village is car-free, but not traffic-free – electric buggies operating either as hotel shuttles or as public taxis zip around the streets. Residents and taxis can drive up to Zermatt, though guests must park at Täsch (or more distant Visp) and arrive by train. At Tasch there's a big car park, and you can wheel luggage trolleys on and off the trains.
Zermatt mainly attracts a well-heeled international clientele; tending to be towards the more mature end of the spectrum for what is quite a sporty resort.