Research - 06.07.2018 - 00:00 

DenkRaumBodensee: have the limits of tourism been reached?

What kind of tourism do we want around Lake Constance? This is one of the topics which will occupy the new border-crossing think tank DenkRaumBodensee. Its Academic Director is Dr. Roland Scherer, Director at the IMP-HSG.

6 July 2018. More and more hotels here, empty beds there: tourism around Lake Constance is developing in very different ways. Whereas in German towns like Konstanz and Lindau, the limits of growth are becoming palpable and the inhabitants’ acceptance of tourism projects is on the wane, there is still development potential on the Swiss lake shore. On both sides, however, the same question arises: what kind of tourism do we actually want? This is one of the topics which DenkRaumBodensee wants to look into in the coming months. "We will be focusing on the questions as to whether tourism has reached its limits in the region comprising Austria, Switzerland and the two German Länder of Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria and whether current success may already be putting the basis of its own future in jeopardy," says Jürgen Ammann, the CEO of Internationale Bodensee Tourismus GmbH.

Tackling the issues of the future now

DenkRaumBodensee is an independent academic think tank which wants to provide stimuli for sustainable development. "Tackling the relevant future issues from a integrative and border-crossing perspective at this early stage is important for the competitiveness of the Lake Constance region. Tourism is an important issue, but DenkRaumBodensee is taking up still further future issues, for instance how we want to live here in the future or how the knowledge that exists at the universities can be put to better use for the region," Dr. Roland Scherer, the Academic Director of the think tank and Director at the Institute for Systemic Management and Public Governance (IMP-HSG) of the University of St.Gallen, explains the intention of the project.

DenkRaumBodensee is funded by the University of St.Gallen, the University of Constance, Zeppelin University, DHBW Ravensburg, the Liechtenstein Institute, Vorarlberger Architektur Institut and the International Bodensee Hochschule IBH.

Research and practice pool forces to work on the region’s issues

To begin with, DenkRaumBodensee’s activities are focusing on compiling existing knowledge about the region’s urgent issues and on making it available. If there is a lack of knowledge in some fields, these lacunae will be disclosed. It is the core essence of DenkRaumBodensee to ensure that practitioners from politics and society pool forces with researchers to work on concrete solutions to concrete problems. "What we regard as important is to point out a concrete need for action. The results should directly benefit the actors involved and be integrated into strategic discussions," emphasises Scherer. Also, dialogues with citizens about individual issues are being planned in various locations.

The think tank also aims to make the knowledge and expertise of the universities and disciplines involved visible and primarily also put it to use in the Lake Constance region. The project is open to cooperation with further universities and research institutions within the Lake Constance region.


Within the scope of the Bodensee 2030 research project funded by the IBH, the Universities of St.Gallen, Liechtenstein und Konstanz, as well as Zeppelin University, dealt with questions concerning the future development of the Lake Constance region and launched a discourse process about the future of the region. In this context, it was agreed to continue this process in DenkRaumBodensee. Finally, the think tank was set up on 1 January 2018. For the starting stage of four years, DenkRaumBodensee has a budget of about EUR 1m. It is funded through the participating partners’ own resources and through resources of the Interreg V programme Alpenrhein-Bodensee-Hochrhein. After the starting stage, an evaluation will be conducted on the basis of which it will be decided whether to continue to operate the think tank in the long term.

Image: Fotolia / Manuel Schönfeld

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