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and reservation systems. The Swiss Society for Hotel Credit (Société suisse de crédit hôtelier), a state-owned corporation, provides subprime loans to small and medium-sized companies investing in tourist areas.
Sales of accommodation services are subject to a reduced value-added tax of 3.6%. Prices in the tourism subsector are set freely.
Tourist arrivals and nights spent by tourists in Liechtenstein have been declining since the 1980s, but began to increase again in since 2004. About 35,000 nights were spent in summer 2007, down from some 65,000 in summer 1985. Winter nights spent fell from over 70,000 in the mid-1980s to 58,500 in 2006/07. The majority of tourists come from Germany and Switzerland.
Liechtenstein's tourism regulations are similar to those of Switzerland except for rules governing the acquisition of real estate. Liechtenstein Tourismus, a state institution established by the Tourism Law of 2000, is the main promotional agency responsible for marketing tourism in Liechtenstein. It is financed by annual public support of Sw F 750,000 and revenue derived from the accommodation tax (Sw F 3 per night per person). Certain promotional activities are coordinated with Switzerland. Tourism activities are also marketed by local tourism initiatives and the municipalities.
The Tourism Law was amended in 2004 following a judgement by the States Court of the Principality of Liechtenstein in November 2003, which ruled the application of certain provisions unconstitutional, in particular concerning the tourism levy.
The acquisition of holiday apartments (secondary residence) above 1,000 m altitude is limited to households resident in Liechtenstein that have Liechtenstein, EEA or Swiss nationality. No more than one secondary residence is allowed per household.
(vii) Professional services
The conclusion and implementation of Switzerland's bilateral agreement with the EC on the free movement of persons (Chapter II(x)) has led to significant changes in the conditions affecting the general employment of EC nationals by domestic firms and the conditions for foreigners to work in Switzerland. Since June 2004, priority may no longer be given to residents over EC-15/EFTA nationals. For the states that joined the EC in 2004, the agreement entered into force in 2006, and a transitional period limiting labour migration applies until 2011. In 2009, this agreement is to be extended to Romania and Bulgaria, subject to an optional popular vote. As a result, Switzerland applies a dual system of recruiting foreign labour that differentiates between EU/EFTA and third countries.
According to the Foreign Nationals Act, entries of nationals of third countries are subject to a quota system, labour market needs tests and prior controls on wages and employment conditions. Only workers with good skill levels may access the Swiss labour market. In 2007, the annual quota was 4,000 residency permits and 7,000 short-term permits. The country-wide quotas are allocated per canton. A growing proportion of these foreign workers are being employed in knowledge-intensive sectors such as information technology, financial services, and chemical industry.