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Hansruedi Müller and Brigitte Zaugg
The shortcomings of lobbying in respect of tourism policy are a frequent topic of discussion in tourism circles which lament that there is virtually no voice — and…
The shortcomings of lobbying in respect of tourism policy are a frequent topic of discussion in tourism circles which lament that there is virtually no voice — and therefore no ear — for tourism policy matters in the Swiss Parliament. Is this really the case, or is it merely the customary reaction of a branch that is undergoing major structural change? A review of the achievement record on tourism policy affairs in recent years comes to the conclusion that the successes — at federal level, at least — are actually quite creditable: Innotour has been rejigged and a qualification offensive launched, the special VAT rate — that controversial regulatory policy issue — has been extended, the Schweizerische Cesellschaft für Hotelkredit (Swiss Society for Hotel Credits) was given a new credit, despite considerable opposition, and Switzerland Tourism's federal subsidy looks set to be higher than ever before. And all this at a juncture when savings and cuts are being made on all sides. So there is every indication that tourism lobbying in Switzerland is better than its reputation. It was in this context that tourism lobbying was investigated. The corresponding study, conducted by Brigitte Zaugg (2004), took its lead from the principles of the New Political Economy (Public Choice Theory), which uses as its essential point of departure that the ever‐more‐complex relations between politics and industry generate higher information requirements in all political bodies. Lobbyingprovides a tool for reducing information deficits. Here, information is understood as a swap commodity, because well informed circles can intensify their influence. What is more, with the help of lobbying, it is possible to develop viable legislation characterized by a high degree of acceptance and a broad consensus. Thus, despite certain image problems, lobbying is increasingly perceived as an indispensable form of basic democracy and a legitimate factor in shaping political will. If the influencing of tourism policy decision‐making processes in order to push through specific interests is further increased, the question arises of how lobbying could be modified to make it even more successful. In this connection, the study identifies four focal approaches: 1) the development and nurture of a sustainable network of contacts, 2) the permanent readying of sound information geared to public welfare and a regular exchange of information, 3) the preparation of suggested improvements that are as practical as possible and include own inputs, and 4) the creation of strategic partnerships and the grouping of tasks.