How will the project continue to be financed?

By Larissa Marthy


The first project phase was successfully completed in September 2023. The canton of St. Gallen is currently reviewing further funding so that the feasibility and approvability can be checked.


Until last year, the “Light and Water Worlds” (LIWA) project was financed with federal and cantonal funds as part of the New Regional Policy (NRP). This first project phase lasted from October 2020 to September 2023 and aimed to develop a detailed concept with a business plan and find a suitable location.
After we were able to submit all the documents on time last fall, the project idea has now matured to the point where the next clarifications can be made. The second phase now involves checking the project’s eligibility for approval and feasibility. In this way, we want to ensure that a potential investor has the necessary security to invest.


Support from the private sector
These upcoming tasks are associated with additional costs. For this reason, several discussions were held last year with the Canton of St. Gallen’s Office for Economic Affairs and Labor (AWA) to find out whether further funding from the AWA would be conceivable.

It was already communicated last summer that further funding options from the Canton of St. Gallen would only be considered if the following conditions were met:


  • Strategic partners from industry / tourism available
  • Inter-company structure must be developed (community of interest)
  • Detailed concept and business plan must be available
  • CHF 100,000 cash contributions from the private sector (industry and tourism)


In January 2024, we were able to submit our funding application to the Canton of St. Gallen with a project budget and a timetable until spring 2025, as we can meet all the conditions. The financial support from the private sector in particular makes us extremely optimistic about the further course of the project. Various companies from industry and tourism have pledged a financial contribution, meaning that cash contributions of more than CHF 100,000 have been secured. Our application is currently being examined by the head of the AWA and the responsible government council. A decision on further funding is expected at the end of March.


Initial assessment of eligibility for approval
Although funding has not yet been secured at this stage, we have already taken the first measures. We are in contact with the Building and Environment Department of the Canton of St. Gallen to obtain an initial assessment of the project’s eligibility for approval. A comprehensive project dossier was submitted at the beginning of January and is currently being examined by the Office for Spatial Development and Geoinformation (AREG). We also expect to receive initial feedback on this during the course of the month. This will make it possible to define specific work packages and then tackle them.


Q&A session – 3 questions, 3 answers


1. What does “New Regional Policy” mean and what are its objectives?

With the New Regional Policy (NRP), the federal government, together with the cantons, invests in innovative minds and companies that want to make rural and mountain regions as well as border regions attractive as economic, living and recreational areas and develop them sustainably.

In mountain regions in particular, tourism plays an important role in the regional economy. The NRP supports the development of new offers and innovative products in tourism. It also promotes cooperation projects between destinations or helps to finance tourism infrastructure that increases regional added value.


2. What will the support funds be used for?

The calculated total expenditure for the current project phase from March 1, 2024 to February 28, 2025 is 3,000 working hours.

This expenditure is divided into the following sub-projects


  • 10% project management / administration
  • 15% formal procedures
  • 15% communication / awareness-raising
  • 30% Offer design
  • 30% Operating and utilization concept


In addition to Light Ragaz AG, which is the initiator and implementer of the project, third parties are also entrusted with tasks. The support funds will therefore be used to ensure that the right specialists continue to work on the project idea so that the following goals can be achieved by spring 2025:


  1. Feasibility checked – it can be demonstrated whether the project is feasible, how it is feasible and why an investor should invest
  2. Financing secured – one or more investors can be convinced of the project and financing for its realization is secured
  3. Operator (company) on board – operating concept is in place and one or more operators are available


3. Why is public funding necessary?

LIWA pursues a holistic approach and aims to significantly increase value creation in the entire region. It is a development that increases the attractiveness of the location and is therefore of economic importance. The financial commitment from the private sector shows that innovative projects like LIWA are needed. And it needs people who have the courage and willingness to commit to our region as a whole.
It is only thanks to the support of the public sector that this effort can be financially compensated, as the private sector must and should invest its profits in its own developments.

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