Tourism in Europe – Economic Factor or Cash Cow

itb-flagsReferring to the air traffic taxes in the U.K., Ireland and Germany, a renowned consultant lately compared tourism politics in the Middle East / Emirates and in Europe. In the Emirates, aviation and tourism are considered economic factors – in Europe a cash cow for the politicians…

Now we have the ITB in Berlin, the most important trade fair for Europe in the World. Our chancellor, having recently opened CeBIT computer fair in Hanover was not seen in Berlin yet. Instead, Philipp Rösler, Commerce Minister and head of the minority party FDP (currently 3%, unlikely to make it into government again), was sent to the opening ceremony. Following a scandalous interview by Merkel’s fellow party member Klaus Brähmig, who advised Germans to boycott travel to Egypt, following publications of negative impact on the “ecological air travel levy” (simply “the aviation tax”), the signal could not have been clearer. The value of Tourism in the mindset of our political elite is non-existing, except for being a possible cash-cow. This is also confirmed, looking at the bureaucratics and the political “non-support” for the German airports in the question of night operations.


An airplane that is on the ground costs money. And if you fly transcontinental, flights may arrive and leave at night. On regional flights, utilization is a key driver for economic operations. By limiting flights to daytime-operations, Germany strengthens surrounding countries and regions, without such limitations. And the airlines in those countries, as they can utilize their aircraft more.

Dead-Cash-CowAnother topic of the same issue: The European Safety Umbrella (ESFS or whatever new name they give it). Currently Germany guarantees 230 Billion Euro of that one – the country’s household last year was 355 Billion Euro… We better hope that Greece survives. But what I miss to see, is an active political support for the Greek tourism industry. All the experts emphasize Tourism to be the major economic driver and business for Greece, but thanks to the political hick-hack, the Tourism is in recession there! It might be wise to invest some of the money to stabilize (maybe provide guarantees and affordable credits to businesses) to assure Greece tourism companies to survive and even prosper…? But the politicians now focus on Tunisia, Egypt and other areas, neglecting Greece and thus giving the wrong signal.

200-billion-marksWhat “strategy” does the political elite in Germany and Europe have for Tourism as an economic factor? What are the lobbying organisations doing – and why is the tourism industry so weak?

Your feedback is appreciated!


Food for Thought

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