Upon entering the words “Switzerland” and “Hospitality” into the Google search bar, you will be presented with a list of Hospitality Management Schools like École hôtelière de Lausanne. But what is Switzerland’s unique connection with hospitality to produce so many renowned hotel management schools?
The best starting point to answer this is to examine the origins of hospitality. Hospitality is tightly tied to civilization, as the concept of being hospitable towards strangers has been around for centuries and has since then developed into a booming industry. Hospitality can be traced back to the Romans, who were the first to develop thermal baths in Switzerland and England. Later on, inns were the first non-private hospitality facilities and the predecessors of hotels. Incidentally, the oldest surviving European inn is the Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois in Basel, Switzerland. The first records concerning the Grand Hotel date back to the Middle Ages. Over the years, the hotel underwent several transformations and is now part of the Leading Hotels of the World. Hospitality was indeed present in Switzerland very early on.
“Swissness” is a term used to describe the respect and popularity Swiss goods and services enjoy worldwide. The word is synonymous with reliability, excellence, and precision and embodies positive perceptions about Switzerland.
Another approach to this question is to examine the history of Switzerland. Founded in 1291, the Swiss Confederation started as a loose mix of regions that banded together to protect themselves from much larger neighbouring states like Germany and France. Lasting political stability came with the introduction of official neutrality in 1815 and direct democracy in 1848. Economically, Switzerland is not rich in natural resources, which is why service-oriented industries such as hospitality took hold and continue to prosper today. The tourism industry benefitted from the fast construction of local and international railroads in the 19th century and established Switzerland as both an attractive winter and summer vacation spot. Today, Switzerland ranks first worldwide on the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report and third on the UN’s Education Index.
In addition to Switzerland’s rich history and culture, there is another factor to be considered. “Swissness” is a term used to describe the respect and popularity Swiss goods and services enjoy worldwide. The word is synonymous with reliability, excellence, and precision and embodies positive perceptions about Switzerland. In short, it is Switzerland’s unique branding. When we combine all the above factors, we have the ideal basis for hospitality management schools. Not only is the hospitality industry well developed and rich in culture, but the current Swiss environment is also politically stable and the quality of life is well above average, making it a true hospitality hotspot for both tourists and students.
Note: This article was first published on the EHL Insights blog
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