Research - 13.10.2016 - 00:00 

Research into Swiss tourism

75 years ago, tourism research at university level was launched in Switzerland at the Universities of Berne and St.Gallen. At the time, hardly any academic research had been conducted into the phenomenon of tourism. On 20 October 2016, Swiss tourism research will celebrate its 75th anniversary in Berne.

14 October 2016. At the suggestion of a great number of government authorities and tourism organisations, the Universities of Berne and St.Gallen launched academic tourism research 75 years ago. The Seminar of Tourism was only the second institute to be established at the University of St.Gallen, which illustrates the high relevance of issues examined by tourism studies at the time of its foundation. From the very start, the research institutes both in Berne and in St.Gallen were geared to the provision of services for practice, particularly executive education but also applied research and expert activities. On the occasion of the anniversary celebration in the Schweizerhof Hotel in Berne on 20 October 2016, present and former exponents and related parties will have a look at the tourism and tourism research of the past and of the future.

Foundation in a time of crisis

The two institutes for academic research into the phenomenon of tourism in Berne and St.Gallen were established in the middle of the Second World War. In 1941, the hotels and spas in Switzerland had reached an absolute nadir with just under 10 million overnight stays in the almost 200,000 guest beds (today: 258,000). The bed occupancy rate was a mere 14 per cent! A ban was issued on the construction of hotels, which was only repealed in 1952. The Swiss Travel Fund cooperative (reka) was cutting its first teeth, and winter tourism was still strapped into Kandahar ski bindings. There were hardly any holiday flats but many spas which offered water and air therapies.

Interdisciplinary issues

Today, 75 years later and after the retirement of Prof. Hansruedi Müller, tourism research in Berne is integrated in the Center for Regional Economic Development (CRED), which examines issues of regional economic development in an interdisciplinary manner. The tourism research institute intends to reinforce its positioning in the four areas of Tourism and Regional Development, Tourism and Macroeconomics, Tourism and Experience Economics, and Tourism and Environmental Economics.

In St.Gallen, research into tourism is now conducted at the Institute for Systemic Management and Public Governance (IMP-HSG). With the four competence centres Tourism and Transport, Public Management, Regional Economics and Organisation, the Institute is able to work on all issues of location development in an integrated way.

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