New Bundestag: Focus on opportunities for tourism

Tourism provides jobs for 2.9 million people in Germany. That’s seven percent of the total workforce. Tourism policy spokespersons representing all parliamentary parties agree that the new Bundestag has to accord greater significance to tourism policy so that the industry can more effectively exploit the available opportunities.

Trade tax add-backs are a policy issue

Gabriele Hiller-Ohm (SPD), Kerstin Kassner (Die Linke), Daniela Ludwig (CDU/CSU) and Markus Tressel (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen) agreed on many if the issues discussed at the policyLOUNGE debate hosted by TUI Group and the German Travel Association (DRV) on 30 May 2017. They all view the trade tax add-backs on tour operators’ hotel accommodation rental activities as a regulatory policy blunder. The damage caused is massive and some small and medium-sized tour operators fear it will ruin their businesses.

Cancel the aviation tax or invest it in sustainable mobility

Cancel the aviation tax or invest it in sustainable mobility Aviation tax is an even more controversial issue. Daniela Ludwig believes it distorts competition at the expense of German airlines and should therefore be abolished. Her colleagues from the other parliamentary groups also pointed out that the tax lacks any steering effect and suggested investing the revenue in protecting the environment or using it to fund research into “green aviation”.

More ressources for tourism policy

Besides these specific policy issues, the discussion also covered structural aspects of German tourism policy. The German MPs unanimously agreed that the following steps will be necessary in the post-election legislative period:

  • Strengthening the role of the Tourism Committee: The Committee should have overall control on key tourism issues such as the EU Package Travel Directive. Up to now, MPs have only played an advisory role and specialist expertise has remained unused.
  • Additional human resources for the BMWi: Although the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs has around 1,500 employees, only nine of them are involved in tourism policymaking; a number that in no way represents the importance of the industry.

The politicians would like to collaborate to a greater extent with the travel industry and they believe there should also be more coordination within the industry itself. If the travel companies and associations coordinate their efforts they can work far more effectively. The TUI Group agrees and intends to extend activities in this respect.

Tourism policy spokespersons of the parliamentary groups in the Bundestag


Gabriele Hiller-Ohm, MP: “Nobody had even considered the possibility that the revenue authorities would introduce trade tax add-backs”.

Kerstin Kassner, MP: “Greece is an example of how tourism contributes to European stability”.

Daniela Ludwig, MP: “The aviation tax is a German tax. It distorts competition. We need an international solution”.

Markus Tressel, MP: “We need more people involved in tourism policy for the German government”.