Vals is a Walser-German-speaking enclave in the Romansh dominated Val Lumnezia (Valley of Light). The people of Vals migrated from Upper Valais some 700 years ago and settled in the highest alpine valleys of Grisons. The village centre is called Vals-Platz and lies at an altitude of 1,252 metres above sea level. Throughout the municipality of Vals you can still find many farms typical of Vals which in former times were inhabited in all year round. Today they are usually only used as spring and fall pastures. Besides Vals-Platz the only places that are still inhabited all year round are Camp, Leis, and Valé. As required by law for half a century, houses and barns are still roofed with stone tiles. And although a lot of new buildings have gone up in the past few years, there are parts of the village that still seem intact and undisturbed. In 2015 St. Martin (Lugnez) became part of the community of Vals.
Vals actually has 1,000 inhabitants. Of the gainfully employed section of the population, 8% work in agriculture and forestry, 33% in trade and industry, and 59% in the service sector.
The largest employers are the Hotel- und Thermalbad Vals AG with 130 employees (some seasonal) and Valser Mineralquellen AG with a workforce of 60.
Another important economic sector is natural stone production: the famous "Vals quartzite" is produced in a modern stone production site belonging to Truffer AG. However, there are also countless small and medium-sized enterprises in the village that predominantly operate in the regional building industry.
The economic backbone of the municipality is tourism. ⅔ of the regional income comes directly or indirectly from this economic sector. Vals is a popular destination due to its mountains, climate and skiing area with snow guarantee on the Dachberg (up to 3,000 metres above sea level) and the thermal baths. The village has roughly 1,000 beds in hotels and holiday apartments.
In 2000, there were roughly 130,000 overnight stays recorded. The summer and winter seasons are fairly balanced: the focus is on skiing in the winter and in the summer hikers and families seek rest and relaxation in the mountain village. Vals has experienced a major boost since the opening of the new thermal baths (architect Peter Zumthor),
Valser Mineralquellen AG dominates in terms of industry with its filling business. The company sells over 100 million litres of "Valser Water" every year and is number 2 on the Swiss mineral water market. Industrial processes are also the feature of Truffer AG's stone production site. Roughly 35% of the production is exported today.
Vals has various commercial businesses that cover most needs. This also applies to services, as local retailers offer a wide range.
The importance of agriculture has decreased, although there are still 20 full-time businesses in Vals. What is noticeable is the percentage of young farmers who have taken over farms from their parents. The current ongoing overall improvement of the land will continue to make these young farmers' working conditions better. Organically produced agricultural products are also becoming more important for holiday guests, the demand is for the valley to be authentic.
Recognising the valley's tourism opportunities, the municipality has always been very committed to this sector: with investment in Sportbahnen Vals AG in 1975 and by taking over Hotel und Thermalbad Vals AG with its thermal springs and spa business later on. They also invested financially in the building of the new thermal baths; the success has exceeded all expectations. The municipality can afford this as a significant amount of tax income and water rates are at their disposal due to the building of the Kraftwerke Zervreila power plant, the spa centre and the Valser Water filling plant. Besides this, the municipality has always invested in the community infrastructure: avalanche barriers, agricultural and forestry developments, waste water treatment plants and civil defence facilities, a school, retirement home and municipal office.