Work in the travel industry in Germany
Tour operators and travel agencies in Germany do not require special authorisation to run their businesses. Just like other business owners, travel agents and tour operators must comply with the general commercial requirements, i. e. they must register their business with the competent trade agency, the tax office and, if necessary, have their business entered in the commercial register.
Tour operators based in a different EU Member State that operate in Germany on a temporary basis do not have to register their business. However, special tax rules may apply. The Posted Workers Act applies whenever employees are posted abroad.
Travel agents and tour operators doing business in Germany must comply with the civil-procedure rules on travel-contract law, which are designed to protect travellers.
These provisions specify the respective rights and obligations of tourists and tour operators when it comes to package tours - including those of modifying the contract, holding the operator liable for failure to provide services agreed in the contract and for terminating the contract. These regulations are mostly mandatory law, which means that - even if agreed otherwise - operators must not derogate from these if this is to the tourist's disadvantage. Most of the rules that apply in Germany (cf §§651 et seqq of the German Civil Code [BGB]) transpose the EU Package Travel Directive 90/314 EEC of 1990, which applies throughout the EU, into national law. However, given that this Directive only sets out the minimum requirements, requirements applicable in Germany may go beyond those applicable in other countries.
In addition, tour operators are required to provide certain pieces of information, pursuant to the German Civil Code Ordinance on information and the Ordinance on information obligations of service providers (DL-INfoV). If tour operators also provide online services, they must also comply with the German Telemedia Act.
Note: This text provides general advice only and is neither exhaustive nor legally binding.
The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy does not provide legal advice for individual cases. This task is the responsibility of the members of the legal professions, especially lawyers. This site cannot and is not meant as a substitute for individual legal advice. We would therefore recommend that you consult a specialised lawyer or a dedicated advisory service to help with your individual questions and queries.