Tourism Competence Centre: Putting an end to parochial politics

Tourism policy in Germany is predominantly location policy. How can we strengthen destinations between the Baltic Sea coast and the Alps? The EU Package Travel Directive has shown us that we have lost sight of the bigger issues. The Ministry for Economic Affairs’ new Tourism Competence Centre now offers us the chance to make the most of the opportunities associated with tourism.

More than Germany as a location

The ministry’s Tourism Competence Centre will be starting work in the next few weeks. It will be implementing specific projects to facilitate knowledge transfer between politics, business and the tourism associations, with the objective of meeting the requirements of all segments of the German tourism industry. This also means looking at the wider picture and supporting cross-border tourism.

Focus on foreign tourism

70 percent of Germans holiday abroad. Outgoing tourism dominates the travel market, offering unimagined opportuni- ties for development cooperation and the creation of prosperity worldwide. The new Competence Centre has to take this into account in its work. 

Three issues in particular should be on the agenda:

  • Development policy: Tourism is the driving force behind development in many countries. German tourists inject eleven billion euros every year into the economies of emerging and developing countries. The competence centre will be tasked with developing a roadmap for tourism to make an even bigger contribution to the achievement of development policy objectives and identify the political obstacles that have to be eliminated to make this possible.
  • Cooperation with destinations: Regulatory obstacles prevent foreign partners from investing in hotels, ports and airports in many countries. The new forum could develop strategies for setting up an appropriate framework supporting market access and key infrastructure investments.
  • Education: A shortage of skilled employees is a central challenge facing the global travel industry. The competence centre has to be the industry’s mouthpiece in the political arena, lobbying for more uniform education standards and the elimination of bureaucratic obstacles facing travel companies that are willing to make investments. The tourism industry is setting an example in the area of education. The Robinson Club Agadir is cooperating with the Moroccan Education Ministry to provide a dual vocational training programme at its own school.

The average collective spending of 15 German tourists in 2012 created one job in an emerging or developing country.