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Klosterser Zeitung

Gotschnastrasse 14

7250 klosters                                                                         15th November 2016

 

Dear Editor,

 

On the 28th October 2016 I had a meeting with the mayor and raised the following points in reference to be proposed changes in Tourist Tax Laws.

 

I already pay considerable amounts of tourist tax and direct taxes and feel that with this increase my family will have to take a long hard look at what Klosters has to offer in the coming years against other resorts. My family has been coming to Klosters for 66 years and now have the 4th generation coming, but for how much longer is anyone’s guess.

 

The revised tourist tax is no more than a stealth tax imposed to prop up a short fall in the tourist revenue which is due to the tourist administration’s incompetence in collecting tourist tax due, I agree that the tourist tax should be reviewed from time to time, but I would like to know how these taxes are being spent and that services provided are for the benefit of all who visit Klosters.

With regard to the increase in tourist tax mine will increase from Chf 780 to Chf 2000 what the Mayor is trying to say is that he needs this increase to pay for tourist amenities (Active programme etc). Tourists do not always wants things for free and by giving the Active programme free does not necessarily encourage tourists, in 2013 the activity programme listed activities that could be participated in and against these there was a charge, it seems

thereafter these charges were dropped, for what reason I do not know.

 

The Tourist Board should be trying to encourage the younger generation to visit Klosters but I quote from the Davos Klosters website. “ guest enjoy spending their holiday in Klosters with good reason, they relax in peace here, in doing so the luxury car stays in the garage and the parties are hosted in their OWN CHALETS”.

Klosters is very good at looking at the past, and talking about the good old days of Hollywood Stars and visiting royals, they must look to the future as this is the only hope of this once great village/ resort surviving in this modern world.

 

Please remember the second home owners and others have already stepped up to the plate with raising funds for the Madrisa Mountain Development, the investment was made for the future of mine and other family’s coming to Klosters.  

 

On these points I did not receive any satisfactory replies from the Mayor. My parting question to the Mayor was “ Herr Steck why would you want to come to Klosters for your holiday”, again receiving no reply.

 

If the vote goes in favour of accepting these changes in the tourist tax I look to the Mayor to implement the new tax in such a way that everyone will know how the tax is allocated and that we have full transparency.

 

Yours Faithfully

Nigel J A Learmond 


 

Opinions

 

 

W.L

No taxation without representation!  i am already paying considerable property taxes on my house and feel this extra tax is simply not justified - i would like to see Klosters with a more vibrant community but all i have seen over the last 5 years is a steady decline and with this additional tax, clearly this will continue.  Such a shame the village is being mis managed and tourism is being killed; what will be the future for the region - farming?

 

 

 English Summary of Email written by HP Läng, a local resident and owner of Marketing & PR agency

‘Madrisahof’ is the recently built chalet on the Madrisa mountain. The building offers not only a public restaurant but also a member’s only club called ‘Sternclub’. The club currently has approximately 80 members that can use its dining facilities or meet from time to time to discuss current issues. On 10th February the Club’s manager sent an email addressed to ‘all 2nd home owners in Klosters’ stating that the town’s current mayor (‘Gemeindepräsident’) Kurt Steck would deliver on Saturday, 13th February a presentation about the intended revision of the village’s guest tax laws. The invitation was intended for the club’s members only. However the wording was so ambiguous that it was forwarded by the recipients to a large number of 2nd home owners in Klosters. A number of them then attended the presentation thereby making the event a public affair.

The reason for the mayor’s presentation remain unclear because nothing new has happened since the local parliament (‘Gemeinderat’) refused on 1st October 2015 to pass the first draft of the new guest tax laws and set it back to the mayor’s office for revisions.


The main objections among those present against the first draft remain:

  • The proposed new rates that will be three times the current ones.
  • The proposed rates in new guest law would not consider a flat’s or house’s age, i.e. all properties would be charged at the rate(s).
  • It is totally unclear for what the significant increase in revenue would be used, i.e. to cover existing tourist services and thereby reduce the village’s own contribution which in its accounts is detailed as a ‘deficit’ or pay for additional new services. The mayor was unable to say which would be the case or whether it would be a combination of both.
  • The information activities so far have been very unclear and have resulted in misunderstanding and aggravation amongst the affected 2nd home owners

All those who attended the presentation at the Madrisahof agreed that the guest tax rates need to be increased. However the height of the increase(s), the lack of sufficient published details and the intention to quickly ‘have a vote’ without due consideration of the 2nd home owners’ views has resulted in consternation among those who will be affected most.

 

 

R+K.CH.

Firstly, many thanks for setting up this website.  

In the years that we have owned our holiday apartment in Klosters, we have progressively felt that we are receiving less and less value for money. From the extremely expensive and inefficient access to the mountains in winter to the overpriced restaurants and bars (at least those that are still in business), coupled with decidedly cool customer service.  The proposed new guest tax is pernicious and really does little to address the problem of a significant reduction in the number of tourists in the area and the consequent lack of revenue, which coupled with the inability of the Gemeinde to set workable procedures in place to collect the current guest tax has left Klosters floundering in a difficult financial environment with little idea how to survive and be successful in a competitive tourist market. 

 

We are not against an increase in our guest tax per se, but any increase should be directly reflected in investment in the area which would be of benefit to second home owners. The proposed increase, however, is simply punitive.  It would not be wise to lose the goodwill of second home owners who have made a significant investment in the area.  Many of whom, like ourselves, currently go out of their way to use local services and shops.  Risking the disenchantment of second home owners could have serious consequences and seems short-sighted and foolish. 

 

Furthermore, the proposed increase in taxation for second home owners who currently rent their properties is simply ridiculous.  As we live in Switzerland we try to use our Klosters home as often as possible.  We do, however, rent it out on occasions.  To recoup our outlay on the proposed guest tax for renters would simply be impossible.  The number of nights rental that we would need to achieve to break even would mean that we could hardly use our property ourselves.  Our only recourse will be to stop renting our property thereby leaving it standing empty for longer periods.  This can only be detrimental to the villare and I am sure we are not the only owners in this position.  A classic case of the law of unintended consequences.

 

Comments / Suggestions for benefits.:

 

For our particular family none of the benefits listed above are of very much value to us.  The free rail and bus travel is, I think, important (although 3 of our family of 4 possess GA passes for the whole of Switzerland anyway).  The numerous small discounts offered don't interest us much at all and we have never used any of them, apart from the discount in the Klosters swimming pools.  The discounts are, in any event, too small to encourage us to use them. 

 

What we need is access to indoor swimming pools/spas and good discounts to these.  Since the Silvretta in Klosters withdrew public access to its swimming pool, there are very little indoor activities on offer for families.  There is almost nothing on offer at all during periods of bad weather and this needs to be addressed urgently in my view.  

 

I already feel that we get little value for money from our enforced Guest Cards and if the above is supposed to represent greater value for money following an outrageous hike in our guest tax, then I think there is still a lot of work to be done.

 

 

R.P.

According to local statistics there are approximately 2’700 properties in Klosters owned or rented by non-residents. However to date there has never been a forum that allowed non-residents to exchange opinions. Now private individuals with holiday homes in Klosters have established a new website - in German and English - for these 2nd home owners: www.zweitwhg-klosters.ch

The website currently informs about imminent changes to the local guest tax laws that will increase the levels of payments that holiday home owners will be obliged to pay in future. In essence the proposed new guest tax law will be a move from a person to a property based taxation. To date guests staying in their own flat have paid per person either for each night spent in Klosters CHF 4.50 or an annual payment of CHF 150.00. If approved, owners of a holiday home will in future pay a flat rate charge for the flat and a further payment based on the flat or house’s square metre living area. The lowest proposed flat rate is CHF 200.00 and lowest square metre charge CHF 8.00, i.e. a 100 square metre flat will then cost CHF 1'000.00. The rates will be collected by the local tax office.

Visitors to the new website can browse through documents that would be hard to find on the town’s own website. Unfortunately they are all in German. However those running the website will be happy to answer specific questions.

Readers are also asked to state their opinion about the tourist services that are intended to be covered by a future guest card. 2nd home owners can also exchange opinions and information. Anyone who lists their contact details will be kept up to date on any future development in Klosters that will directly affect their status in the community. The new website is a great opportunity to bring 2nd home owners together for the future benefit of all guests coming to Klosters.

 

 

 

Press

 

12. Februar 2016

www.zweitwhg-klosters.ch und der Jahresbericht des KT

 

11. Dezember 2015

Neue Informationsplattform für Zweitwohnungsbesitzer (GZ)

 

Neue Informationsplattform für Zweitwohnungsbesitzer (KZ)

 

 27. November 2015

Weiteres Vorgehen zur neuen Tourismusfinanzierung  (KZ)

 

20. November 2015

Klosters, unsere zweite Heimat ......  (KZ)

 

13. November 2015

Überhöhte Tourismusabgaben  (KZ)

 

Freitag, 6. November 2015

Investitionen in die Zukunft  (KZ)

 

Freitag, 30. Oktober 2015

I bi gopfridstutz kei Kiosk und au kei Bank  (KZ)

 

Bürgerratspräsident K. Flütsch  (KZ)

 

23. Oktober 2015

Die "Nonantwort" des Gemeindepräsidenten Kurt Steck

Wo sind die konkreten Angaben zur Notwendigkeit neuer Tourismusabgaben,

die zukünftig bis zu 1.3 Millionen höher ausfallen sollen?  (KZ)

 

Dauergästepotenzial  (KZ)

 

Warum sollen Gäste und Touristen noch nach Klosters kommen?  (KZ)

  

11. September 2015

Hoffen auf Vernunftsieg  (KZ)

 

4. September 2015

Gratisleistungen, eine Antwort  (KZ)

 

31. Juli 2015

Warum keine direkten Informationen an die Zweitwohnungsbesitzer?    (KZ)

 

2. Juli 2015

Ein nicht vertrauenserweckender Auftritt  (KZ)