Walter Hunziker

Walter Hunziker

Swiss professor and author
Country: Switzerland

Biography of Walter Hunziker

Walter Hunziker was a Swiss professor and author, best known as the founder of the Tourism Research Institute at the University of St. Gallen. He was one of the pioneers in developing scientific research methods in tourism and played a crucial role in the establishment of organizations such as AIEST (International Association of Scientific Experts in Tourism) and Glion Institute of Higher Education.

Walter Hunziker

Born in 1899, Walter Hunziker was one of the first advocates for interdisciplinary scientific analysis to understand the diverse nature of tourism. He expanded the boundaries of tourism studies by incorporating aspects of sociology, psychology, history, geography, marketing, law, medicine, and technology. His analytical approach helped solve various problems related to business management and economic policy in the tourism industry.

Hunziker, who had an economic background, rejected the early perception of tourism as a subclass of the economy. Instead, he viewed tourism as a cultural phenomenon. In 1941, he founded the first doctoral program in tourism at the University of St. Gallen, along with the establishment of the Tourism Research Institute. In collaboration with Kurt Krapf, the head of another tourism research institute in Bern, Hunziker published the seminal work "Master Plan for Teaching Tourism as a Science" in 1942. It became a fundamental reference for tourism research and introduced one of the first widely accepted definitions of tourism.

Hunziker and Krapf not only approached tourism from an economic perspective but also addressed its sociological aspects. Hunziker's contributions to the field of tourism were not limited to academia. He believed that tourism was a valuable asset to society, as it fostered cultural understanding, reduced xenophobia, and isolationism. He emphasized the positive aspects of tourism and advocated for government support in the development of social tourism, including partial or full cost coverage.

Hunziker's dedication to tourism research and his vision for the industry extended beyond Switzerland. In 1963, he founded the International Organization of Social Tourism (IOST) and served as its president until his death in 1974. The IOST aimed to promote social tourism on an international scale and coordinated the tourism activities of its members. The organization provided information on various aspects of social tourism, including cultural, economic, and social implications.

Walter Hunziker's contributions to the field of tourism research and his advocacy for social tourism have left a lasting impact on the industry. His interdisciplinary approach and commitment to promoting cultural understanding through tourism continue to inspire scholars and practitioners worldwide.