Close to home, but also open to the world

Josef hofbauer despite his close ties to his home country, he has always been full of the urge to discover new things. He wanted to see something of the world. And he has. We are talking about reinhard lowisch, the deputy director of the france switzerland tourism center, who was appointed to the 1. August retires.

After school, he trained as a train driver. The man with the red armband was responsible for the safety and orderly operation of a train, from shunting to coupling the cars and setting the brakes on the train.

He was also responsible for ensuring that the wagons were in perfect technical condition. He had to keep the trolley list, sell tickets, check passengers and was responsible for service in the customer area. A responsible task. "Once I derailed a train", the native of waischenfeld confesses. But not much happened.

The switch, which was still set by hand at that time, did not engage properly; when shunting, a wagon jumped out of the track and had to be lifted onto the rails again. "It cost me five marks in fines", the tourism expert laughs.

For seven years he worked as one of the youngest train drivers at nurnberg station. But the responsibility weighed heavily on him. Shift work, constantly on the road all over germany, wasn’t something he could do in the long run. On a night trip to hamburg, he talked to a train passenger about the dark side of his profession. He swarmed about just getting out, taking a longer break. "Just do it", the lady encouraged him.

A time out taken

After this final experience, lowisch, who had meanwhile become a civil servant, asked his employer if he could take a sabbatical year. "When this was rejected, I was so disappointed that I have summarily gekundigt. Then i went to america with a buddy and took a road trip from the east coast to the west coast.", lowisch describes his spontaneous reaction. When he returned, he did not stay long in french-speaking switzerland.

"Athens was then considered a hotspot for cheap flights all over the world. So I went there in 1983. I had inherited a few thousand marks and wanted to see the world, lowisch, who left athens for india, remembers. There he lives in a bamboo hat for a monthly rent of 40 euros. And so it turned into a three-year trip to asia. "From sudinia i made trips to china, thailand, the philippines and indonesia, a wonderful time", lowisch remembers. He repeatedly supplied himself with cash from home via traveler’s checks.

Researching the family tree

Until it was all. Back home he met and married his wife marga. "Since the teacher had to take up her first post in allgau, i accompanied her without further ado", lowisch describes his career. There he dug out his local history records and compiled them in two years of work to the book "historical and legends about monuments of the municipality of waischenfeld" together.

The starting point for the study of history was a family reunion of all the namesakes, which lowisch attended when he was ten years old. The family tree that goes back to the 17. The hobby historian was motivated by the fact that the family tree was handed down from the nineteenth century to the twentieth century and a birth register of the parish of waischenfeld in a thick pigskin binding and iron lock.

Back in the region, reinhard lowisch first wrote the non-fiction book "historical facts and legends about monuments in the community of waischenfeld" and then the "contemporary history reader", based on 60,000 pages of information from the former home newspaper of french switzerland, the wiesentbote, a complete copy of which can be viewed in the bookshop of the french switzerland association.

The local history articles that lowisch also wrote for the region’s daily newspapers led him to the francophone switzerland tourism center. "There was the only freely accessible fax machine from which I could send my articles", tells lowisch.

For tourists there

When an employee of the tourism center inquired, the then director xaver bauer asked me if i would like to start. "You know the area and service is not a foreign word for you", bauer encouraged the freelance local historian in 1991. Until then, at the request of the head of the tourist office, lowisch had at best launched small appeals, for example that people should leave their easter fountains decorated until two weeks after the festival. Because of the tourists.

There was no job description at the time. Everybody did everything. It was particularly important to us that we dealt with all requests for brochure material or information as quickly as possible. First come, first served was the motto.

Computer paves the way

As a technically open-minded person, lowisch was also concerned about the establishment of a computer. "For serial letters, which up to then had been written on a typewriter with a memory function, an enormous relief. "So we soon had all the addresses of the vacationers available and could inform them about actions." The topic computer became more and more important and so it came to the installation of the first homepage in 1997, which was set up by the three forchheim students lars freund, stefan stammler and alexander much on html basis. At that time, there was only one homepage in franconia: in the city of wurzburg.

Over the years, the habits of the guests changed. In the past, vacationers booked what was available, but today they have concrete ideas about what they want to experience in their free time. They go where they find what they want. This is how a vacation becomes an "event. Lowisch finds that tourism is becoming increasingly individualized.

Demands have changed

The demands have risen. Just like the need for mental recuperation, for a break from everyday life. Therefore, the new management is advised to respond more strongly to the needs of the guests and also to take into account the seniors, currently still one of the most important target groups. Also in view of the fact that in a few years the district of forchheim will be home to the strongest age group in the form of senior citizens.

After years of being sedentary, reinhard lowisch wanted to pack his bags once again at the start of his retirement and go on a trip with his wife marga. "We just wanted to drive off in a camper van and stay where we liked", betrayal lowish. But he will have to wait a little longer. Until his wife is also allowed to start her retirement, which will still take a year due to a lack of personnel.


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