Wide approval at general meeting

  15.03.2022 Local News

Normally, agenda items are set and published well in advance of the annual general meeting. But since the agenda items were set, drastic things had happened. A war that is likely to affect the European, the Swiss and yes, also the tourism of the Destination Gstaad. And the dissolution of Gstaad Marketing, which had become known only a few days before the general meeting and had caused quite a stir. So there was some tension in the air as the 89 voters and 34 guests poured into the large hall of the Landhaus. To what extent and in what way would the two current events be incorporated? And what would be the reactions of the voters? 

Dissolution of GM
President Oliver Waser informed the audience about the most recent change before the official part of the meeting began. He briefly explained the dissolution of Gstaad Marketing (GM) at the end of October and the transfer of the destination marketing to GST as well as the development of marketing competencies at the Bergbahnen Destination Gstaad (BDG). "GST and BDG will continue to work together in the future in the area of campaigns and use corresponding synergies," Waser emphasised. Waser's offer to answer the audience's questions about the dissolution at the end of the event was not taken up, however.

The war and its effects
Riedi, for whom it was the first general meeting since taking office, explained with regard to the second unforeseen topic that it was difficult to make a forecast for the summer. "The only thing that is certain is that the war in Ukraine will also have an impact on us." Foreign guests, especially from distant markets, will decrease, Riedi said, because they perceive Europe as insecure. The strength of the Swiss franc also makes staying in Switzerland expensive. Conversely, the Swiss can take cheaper holidays abroad and may also have wanderlust now that travelling may become easier again.

On the other hand, the war makes travel costs more expensive, and because of the increased need for security, the Swiss may prefer to holiday at home. "In any case, the focus must be on the Swiss home market; that is also how it is defined in the destination strategy," Riedi emphasised. In the last two Corona years, the destination did well with this focus and was able to record considerable growth from the Swiss market.

The remainder of the general meeting concerned the items on the agenda, all of which were approved.

Agriculture still represented on the board
Two new elections were necessary. Board member Matthias Oehrli from Lauenen had to be replaced as he had reached the maximum term of office of nine years. Oliver Waser expressed his gratitude on behalf of the Board to have found a person from agriculture again in Heidi Schopfer from Saanen. She is on the board of the Bern Farmers' Association and was director of the Saanenland Agricultural Association for ten years.

Steffen Nischan is resigning from the audit commission (GPK) due to a new distribution of portfolios in the Gsteig municipal council. From the municipality of Gsteig, municipal councilor Tom Schild is now the corresponding representative. The community representative from Lauenen, Pascal Bangerter, and GPK President Philipp Reber were re-elected.

Honours for long-standing commitment
In three village organisations (DO) a new president was elected. The retiring presidents were honoured together with the retiring board member Matthias Oehrli during the general meeting. These were Adrian Friedli for the DO Gstaad, Rudi Kistler for the DO Gsteig-Feutersoey and Susanne Brand for the DO Lauenen, who unfortunately could not be present at the general meeting.

Based on AvS/Sonja Wolf

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