Belief in the future and concern for one's own village were the birth factors of the cooperative for the promotion of the tourist infrastructure in Bellwald.
"I'll provide you with around three million francs in one year. I don't have a red cent yet, but I'll get it together." How would you react to this statement today? Exactly, you would dismiss it as stupid gossip, banish the content of the statement to the realm of fairy tales and legends.
But it was exactly this statement that was made on 8 February 1976 by the founders of the cooperative for the promotion of tourism infrastructure. They held out the prospect of 500,000 Swiss francs to the then ski lift company PUMAG to promote the expansion of the lifts in Bellwald.
Silly talk? Far from it, because within a year the cooperative kept its word, convinced many people who cared about Bellwald and raised the money. The cableways were extended and the rapid development of Bellwald took its course.
The starting point at that time was the fact that neither the municipality of Bellwald nor private companies were able to meet the financial demands that came with the rapid development of tourism in Bellwald. Within a very short time, the number of guest beds multiplied at the beginning of the 1970s. It was quickly realised in the mountain village that the infrastructure could not keep up with the number of guest beds without additional funds.
The foundations were lacking to allow builders and flat owners to participate in the development of the station by law. "So we had to set up our own bank to provide kick-off financing for necessary projects," recalls one founder. The idea was that everyone should contribute 500 francs per guest bed to the cooperative's capital. The money was to be used to develop and expand the tourist offer in the village, which in turn would benefit every flat owner.
"It was not child's play to convince people to provide the cooperative with 500 francs per guest bed," another founder looks back. "But we believed in the cause and together managed to convince locals, craftsmen and chalet owners from near and far that these funds would not benefit the cooperative but themselves." Members of various village associations went door to door in some cases to inform people.
After one year, more than 400,000 francs in capital had been collected. The foundation stone for the success of the cooperative had been laid and was to have a decisive influence on the development of the holiday resort of Bellwald.