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Topic - Tourism Policy

Tourism

Introduction

Tourism is a major driver of growth and jobs all around the world. In 2015, more than 1 billion people travelled to another country as tourists. This means that the number of foreign tourists has increased forty-fold since 1950.

In 2015, around 609 million people – more than half of the total of 1.18 billion international tourists that year – travelled to Europe. This is an increase of 4.4 per cent over the previous year. According to estimates by the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), the number of tourists travelling to another country is likely to increase to 1.8 billion by 2030. In line with international usage, the term ‘tourism’ denotes travel for both leisure and for business.

Germany as a tourist destination – more popular than ever

Germany is becoming ever more popular as a tourist destination – a trend that is continuing throughout 2016. In 2015, Germany recorded a new all-time high in the number of overnight stays for the sixth time in a row. These totalled 436.4 million, up 3 per cent up from the previous year. Foreign tourists were once again the main driver of this development. The number of overnight stays by foreign visitors rose by 5 per cent, reaching 79.7 million. Holidays in Germany are also very popular among German nationals. In 2015, these accounted for 356.7 million overnight stays (in hotels, holiday apartments and on camping sites). This is up 2 per cent from the previous year. Surveys indicate that Germany as a travel destination has a market share of around 30 per cent, making it the most popular destination among German nationals by a considerable margin.

Tourism – an industry marked by SMEs

The German tourism industry is characterised by small and medium-sized enterprises in particular. According to industry figures, more than 2,000 tour operators, around 4,800 coach companies and just under 10,000 travel agencies are operating in Germany. In addition to this, there are around 222,220 businesses in the hotel, restaurant and catering industry, including around 46,820 providers of accommodation and 175,400 catering businesses.

Four figures on tourism

609
Symbolicon für Flugzeug

million
Number of people who travelled to Europe in 2015

1.8
Symbolicon für Menschen

billion
Number of tourists who are predicted to travel to another country in 2030

447.3
Symbolicon für Hotel

million
Number of overnight stays in hotels and hostels in Germany in 2016

18.1
Symbolicon für Bett

%
Share of the number of overnight stays in Germany accounted for by foreign tourists – German nationals account for the rest.

Objectives and Stakeholders

Creating the right framework for the tourism industry

When it comes to Germany’s federal tourism policy, the objective is to create the right framework for the tourism industry in Germany to flourish. At Federal Government level, lead responsibility for tourism policy falls to the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

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 Bundestag Committee on Tourism.

The Advisory Council on Issues of Tourism at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy provides advice on tourism to the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy and the Federal Government Commissioner for Tourism.

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 German National Tourist Board (GNTB), 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 2016, the German National Tourist Board will be focusing on the theme of 'Holidays in Germany in the heart of nature'. Another theme is the 800th anniversary of the Dresden Kreuzchor choir. In the run-up the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation in 2017, the DZT has been focusing on marketing towns and historic sights that played a central role in the Reformation and in Martin Luther’s life.

Infographics

Iris Gleicke visits the 50th ITB Berlin travel trade show

Key issues of tourism policy

A large variety of tourist attractions combined with social responsibility

Whether it’s discovering the country’s rich cultural heritage or relaxing somewhere in the heart of nature, Germany offers something for everyone.

Whilst Germany as a tourist destination is becoming ever more popular, there are still many opportunities to be grasped and challenges to be mastered – these include issues such as sustainability and social responsibility, and also how to find and retain skilled staff. These are some of the key issues of focus that the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is addressing in its tourism policy.

International cooperation

Cross-border dialogue

The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy represents Germany on European and international tourism issues in many different arenas, including within the European Union, in the UNWTO, the OECD and in bilateral relations to other countries.

This means sharing best practice examples on tourism policy and developing measures for boosting competitiveness, sustainability and social responsibility. Indeed international cooperation plays a crucial role for tourism and security.

Since the entering into force of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009, the European Union (EU) has been given the power to adopt tourism policy measures that supplement the measures taken by the European Member States.
In 2016 and 2017, European Commissioner Bienkowska will be focusing on the following issues in tourism policy:

  • Improving the business environment (by enhancing the legal framework and reducing red tape, etc.) and providing better access to capital (by providing loans/guarantees, but also by attracting foreign investment, etc.);
  • Digitising the tourism industry (for example through the Virtual Tourism Observatory (VTO) information platform);
  • Improving skills development (initial and further training/securing skilled labour) and the mobility of employees;
  • Promoting Europe as a tourist destination, in particular by marketing trans-regional products (with a special focus to be placed on America and Asia, particularly China, as source markets):

OECD: International cooperation

The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy represents Germany on the OECD Tourism Committee. Members of this body share information and views on current issues in tourism, and discuss best practice examples from tourism policy in the various OECD’s Member States. The discussion also incorporates all tourism-related issues as well as other analyses conducted by the OECD to the extent that they are relevant to tourism, such as climate change, green growth, sustainability, arts and culture, deregulation, travel safety and security, infrastructure etc. This also benefits the tourism policy of the Federal Government.

The World Tourism Organization – UNWTO

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is a specialised agency of the United Nations. The task of the World Tourism Organization is to “promote and develop tourism with a view to contributing to economic development, international understanding, peace, prosperity and universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, gender, language and religion”. As it does so, the UNWTO pays particular attention to the interests of developing countries. With 2017 having been declared ‘International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development’ by the United Nations, the UNWTO is currently involved in preparing for this initiative. Find out more.

T20 Tourism Ministers' Meeting

The T20 brings together the tourism ministers from major developed countries and emerging economies (G20). This forum, which was set up at the imitative of the UNWTO, aims at highlighting the contribution tourism can make to the economic development of the G20 countries and at advocating a tourism-friendly economic policy. At the T20 meeting in Turkey in 2015, the ministers focused on the issue of ‘Tourism, SMEs and Employment’. In their Joint Declaration (PDF: 289 KB), the ministers agreed to further intensify their cooperation. The theme for the upcoming T20 meeting in China in 2016 will be ‘Sustainable Tourism – An Effective Tool for Inclusive Development’.

Chinese tourists in Germany

With a population of 1.3 billion people, a new middle class emerging, and an ongoing process of urbanisation, China is one of the most promising markets for tourism worldwide. Almost one fifth of all Chinese tourists travelling abroad are choosing Europe as their destination. With a market share of 16 per cent, Germany is the most popular destination, followed by France and Switzerland (with 12 per cent each). In 2015, the number of overnight stays made by Chinese visitors rose to 2.54 million – up 24.9 per cent from 2014. This makes China by far the most important Asian country for incoming tourism to Germany.

Further information

Tourists and beach chairs symbolize Tourism; Source: mauritius images / imageBROKER / Hans Blossey