Zug, 08.01.2020

Zug Tourism looking for new managers

The Zug Tourism Association (Verein Zug Tourismus) has gone through some difficult periods: due to differences of opinion and a lack of financial and human resources, the then managing director Nicolas Ludin resigned about 1.5 years ago. He submitted his resignation seven months after taking up the post.

The story has now repeated itself: after only one year as managing director, Patrizia Hofstetter has decided to leave. The 29-year-old will be leaving Zug Tourism at the end of March. In an announcement from Zug Tourism, Patrizia Hofstetter, who is originally from Graubünden, but currently lives in Baar, stressed that she wanted to move the centre of her life back to Eastern Switzerland, and to reorient herself professionally. Could this be the only reason for the resignation, given the turbulence within the association? When asked, Hofstetter admits: "I took over the management at a very challenging time."

The reorganisation of Zug Tourism and a strategic realignment took place during Hofstetter's period as managing director. But hotels being closed, reduced contributions from the canton and high personnel costs placed pressure on the budget. The finances have now been stabilised again, says Patrizia Hofstetter. "This means we can tackle projects this year that we had to postpone in 2018 due to deficits." There are also other projects in the starting blocks, but Hofstetter does not want to reveal any more details yet.

Managing Director Patrizia Hofstetter is leaving Zug Tourism at the end of March.

Heini Schmid, President of the Zug Tourism Association, also emphasises that the operation has been stabilised over the last year: “We applied the handbrake by postponing the projects we were considering and by reducing personnel costs. The efficiency of Zug Tourism suffered as a result, however, and long-term rethinking is therefore necessary.” This “rethinking” will take place without President Heini Schmid, however: because Schmid has also decided to hand over the Presidium at the General Assembly on May 12th. Schmid emphasises that the challenging situation of Zug Tourism was not a decisive factor for his resignation, which has been foreseen for some time.

"It’s time for a generational change, for new people with fresh ideas," says Schmid, who has chaired Zug Tourism for over 20 years.

The management board of the association has meanwhile set up an internal committee, headed by Gabriela Ingold, to look for successors for the president and the CEO. “The committee has started its work and we are holding talks at various levels. The aim is to fill these two major vacancies in a coordinated manner,” explains Ingold. In order to avoid coming under time pressure in this regard, an interim solution for the management is conceivable.

Zug Tourism is currently remaining silent with regard to any concrete difficulties and its new strategy. The existing strategy will be modified "as soon as the new managers are on board," says Gabriela Ingold. The main goal is to continue to market the Canton of Zug as an attractive place to live, work and relax.

Zug Tourism already abandoned its earlier efforts to make Zug a "classic tourist destination in the Alpine foothills" a year ago. When she first took office, managing director Patrizia Hofstetter emphasised that the cooperation with local partners - i.e. the hotels and providers of tourism campaigns - was to be intensified again. President Heini Schmid agrees: “At this moment in time, Zug Tourism will not be able to master a well-coordinated location marketing on its own. Allies such as the hotels, the canton, the municipalities and cultural providers are needed in order to improve the brand image of the Canton of Zug”.