German Tourism Summit

Frenzel calls for overtourism curbs and ambitious German tourism strategy

Michael Frenzel is president of the German Tourism Industry Federation (BTW)
Svea Pietschmann/BTW
Michael Frenzel is president of the German Tourism Industry Federation (BTW)

The tourism industry could introduce contingents to tackle overtourism as it heads for another record year, according to German tourism industry head Michael Frenzel who also wants an ambitious tourism strategy from the government.

“Destination Germany is heading for a record year for the ninth time in a row,” the German Tourism Industry Federation (BTW) president told some 500 participants at the 21st tourism summit in Berlin this week. The number of overnight stays in Germany increased by 4% to 326 million by the end of August, and there was no end in sight to the growth, he said.

But, with visitor numbers rising worldwide, Frenzel urged: “We must cope carefully with the tourist flows. We have to find solutions to steer the flows.” In a panel discussion on overtourism, he even called for contingents in extreme cases in order to maintain the current quality of tourism. However, the former long-serving TUI chief executive also described travel as “a fundamental need for many people” and tourism as “a peace industry” for the world.

Addressing an audience of tourism managers, politicians and other stakeholders, Frenzel warned that the tourism industry still had low profit margins and reiterated long-standing calls for better business conditions, including an end to the so-called ‘holiday tax’ and better regulation of the ‘platform’ (sharing) economy.

In view of the German government’s planned ‘national tourism strategy’, the BTW chief declared: “We will not be satisfied with an unambitious strategy just because tourism is a regional government responsibility.” Frenzel said the BTW would actively contribute to the strategy over the next two years.

Politicians who spoke at the one-day event included labour minister Hubertus Heil (SPD), CDU general secretary Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who is one of the candidates to replace Angela Merkel as party leader, and Green Party co-chairman Robert Habeck.

Another top speaker was Wolfgang Ischinger, chairman of the Munich Security Conference, who warned about the dangers of an increasing lack of trust between nations, which could also impact on tourism.

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