Tourism is a major driver of economic growth in Germany, particularly when it comes to creating jobs and training opportunities, but also for raising and maintaining the attractiveness of Germany’s rural areas. Tourism also has an impact on a wide range of other economic sectors, such as the retail trade and the consumer goods industry, and largely consists of small and medium-sized enterprises. This is why the German government is providing funding to promote Germany’s tourism industry. The development of tourism in the individual regions of Germany falls within the responsibility of the Länder.
As many aspects of tourism are important for the whole of the country, the German government decided in 2005 to create the office of the Federal Government Commissioner for Tourism. The current Federal Government Commissioner for Tourism, Iris Gleicke, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, serves as mediator between policymakers and the wide number of stakeholders within the tourism industry. She is a key point of contact for the tourism industry and its associations, and represents the Federal Government on tourism-related issues in parliament, e.g. in the .
Tourism is a cross-cutting issue that has a bearing on many different issues. This includes implementation of the new EU Package Travel Directive, dealing with how trade tax is to be applied to certain travel services and handling visa issues. Other important issues include the minimum wage, working and training conditions and digitisation, including the sharing economy. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is engaged in continuous open dialogue on these issues with the tourism associations, which represent the many different aspects of the German tourism industry.
Marketing Germany as a travel destination
In order to ensure that the German tourism industry continues to thrive, it is important to market Germany as a tourist destination abroad. This task is undertaken by the , which is located in Frankfurt. Based on a decision by the Bundestag, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy currently provides around €30 million in annual funding to the German National Tourist Board. The DZT also receives funding from its current base of 73 members and 14 sponsors, which include companies within the tourism industry, marketing organisations and important tourism associations.
The goal is to attract an even greater number of foreign visitors to Germany and ensure that tourism will make an even larger contribution to the country’s income and job market. In order to achieve this goal, the German National Tourist Board runs offices around the world, where staff work together with tour operators and local media in order to market Germany as a tourist destination. The DZT conducts market analyses and studies, which help it to anticipate new trends and adapt its marketing strategies in a targeted manner to the needs of foreign holidaymakers and business travellers. The National Tourist Board also coordinates closely with a wide number of German tourism companies in order to position Germany as a top tourist destination, right around the globe.
The German National Tourist Board also showcases Germany as a travel destination among tourism industry professionals around the world, organising a wide range of different events and campaigns, and providing many different services. These include the organisation of international tourism trade fairs, workshops and media events, which together serve as an important platform for marketing Germany as a travel destination. Travellers and organisations interested in finding out more can go to the DZT’s website and download special apps or join social networks in order to obtain information about travel destinations, programmes and tourist events taking place in Germany. This information is available in several languages.
In order to mark the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation in 2017, the DZT focused on marketing towns and historic sights that played a central role in the Reformation and in Martin Luther’s life. Another focus was the 800th anniversary of the Dresden Kreuzchor, a renowned choir. In 2018, the German National Tourist Board will concentrate on the central theme of ‘Culinary Germany’. And in 2019, tourism promotion will especially centre upon the centenary of the founding of the Bauhaus design movement.