Less bureaucracy, more flexible working hours – and as quickly as possible: the tourism industry has called on the federal government to take swift and concrete measures to improve the industry’s competitiveness.
The secretary general of the federal association of the german tourism industry (BTW), michael rabe, told the deutsche presse-agentur that up to now, companies have lost far too much time and money due to "excessive bureaucracy and regulations that are not in line with actual practice".
The german hotel and restaurant association (dehoga) also called on politicians to take concrete action. "For us, these include, first and foremost, the long overdue flexibilization of the working hours act, the consistent reduction of bureaucracy, as well as the urgently needed fair taxation of the hospitality industry," said dehoga president guido zollick to dpa.
Last week, the german government had presented key points for a first national tourism strategy. The goal is to increase the industry’s competitiveness and economic strength. Concrete measures are to be worked out with the states and the industry by early 2020.
Rabe said companies could not wait for an action plan yet to be developed to get moving. "Roll up your sleeves, tackle problems – in the sense of the cornerstones of the tourism strategy – and solve them quickly, this is therefore our appeal to politicians."
He lamented tax "injustices" for the industry, such as an inconsistent tax rate on meals. Rabe went on to say: "in the digital age, registration forms in hotels still have to be signed on paper in analog form. Slow internet in rural areas makes many entrepreneurs and their guests despair and the current working hours act prevents the necessary flexibility in the distribution of working hours."All of this is placing an enormous burden on businesses.
Dehoga president zollick welcomed the german government’s strategic goal of strengthening the competitiveness of the tourism industry, which is dominated by small and medium-sized businesses, and leaving it room to maneuver. "What matters now is that the german government also translates its ambitious goals for promoting the domestic tourism industry into concrete action," said zollick. "This is also about recognition and appreciation for what our entrepreneurs and employees do every day in their businesses for the guests.
The tourism industry has long been demanding relief from politicians, for example in the areas of bureaucracy and labor law. The rigid daily maximum working hours in the working hours act are not in line with the times, BTW president michael frenzel had said.
In addition, the increasing power of large international booking platforms is causing problems for the tourism industry. The concern is that value creation is increasingly moving abroad.
Last year, the number of overnight stays by guests from germany and abroad in germany rose by 4 percent to a record 477.6 million, according to figures from the federal statistical office. However, dehoga had stressed that the earnings situation in the industry remains strained due to further increases in operating and personnel costs. In addition, there is a shortage of skilled workers.