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 can boost not just the hotel, restaurant and catering industry, but also a wide range of other economic sectors, such as the retail trade and the entire local supply chain, and it consists mostly of small and medium-sized enterprises. This is why the Federal 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 Federal 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 intermediary between policymakers and the many 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 .
The at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy advises the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy and the Federal Government Commissioner for Tourism on issues relating to tourism.
Tourism is a cross-cutting policy field that has a bearing on many different issues. These include implementation of the new EU Package Travel Directive, dealing with how trade tax is to be applied to certain travel services and handling visa matters. 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 questions with the tourism associations, which represent the many different aspects of the German tourism industry.
In order to further strengthen government support for the tourism industry, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is to establish a Federal Government Centre of Excellence for Tourism. The Centre of Excellence will serve to assist the process of implementing the Government’s tourism policy goals. An important part of its work will be the special module titled Tourism 2030, which will see the Centre join together with the various players in the industry and with academics to look at long-term scenarios and perspectives for tourism in Germany.
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 DZT. 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 local tour operators and local media in order to market Germany as a tourist destination. The DZT conducts in-depth 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 DZT also coordinates closely with a large 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 participation in 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 2017, in order to mark the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation, the DZT focused on marketing towns and historic sights that played a central role in the Reformation and in Martin Luther’s life. Another topic was the 800th anniversary of the Dresden Kreuzchor, a renowned choir. For 2018, the DZT 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.