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The Federal Tourism Policy, 1917-1955



Visentin C.


Amacher Hoppler A.



The project reveals the history of the Swiss National Tourism Office, the only tourism-related institution on the federal level. It contributes to the political, economical, institutional and cultural history of Switzerland in the first half of the 20th century. Background (100-150 words): The projects bases on the paradoxical situation that tourism has been economically very important and culturally formative for Switzerland, but this importance has not resulted in corresponding institutions as it did in other countries. Even the active research on tourism and in tourism history all over the world has not led to any knowledge on the political aspect of Swiss tourism history. Consequently, the project focuses on the only institution on the federal level in which the official tourism policy could - at least partially - manifest. The inclination of the administration in tourism in Switzerland can thereby be studied and shows how propaganda was instrumentalised by the administration for domestic reasons especially in the 1930ies and during the Second World War. The consequence can be felt even today for example in the fact that Swiss people has been considering themselves as a skiing nation. The goal (50-70 words): The main aim is the identification and analysis of the institutionalised Swiss federal tourism policy in its beginnings and further developments focusing on the first federal institution for promoting Switzerland, the Swiss National Tourism Office. By means of the classical historical source interpretation and the economic approach of institutional economics its institutionalisation and integration into the federal economic and cultural policy are shown. Importance (50-100 words): The project attracts the scientific research community as well as a wider public because it provides a first analysis of tourism policy by the federation in historical perspective, a first scientific business history of the Swiss National Tourism Office (and partly the Swiss Federal Railway) and contributes to the national history of Switzerland since it highlights the history of a economically very important and culturally formative branch of Switzerland which a lot of Swiss people are occupied with even today.

Additional information

Start date
End date
46 Months
Funding sources
Swiss National Science Foundation / Project Funding / Humanities and social sciences (Division I)