How to start a tourism business
Many countries are famous for their tourist destinations and are worth visiting. If you have experience in the tourism branch or have your own travel agency in your country, you might be considering expanding your business to Europe and Germany in particular. Germans are eager travellers who like to explore the world. However German tourists usually feel more comfortable when booking services with German travel agencies. So opening a company in Germany is your chance to expand the horizons and win a new market. From this article you’ll find out what you should know if you want to open a travel agency in Germany.
Our company, Nexus-Europe GmbH, assists foreigners with starting and developing their own business in Germany and moving to Germany through business immigration or the EU Blue Card. Over 20 years of operation we have helped more than 7000 customers.
In our previous articles we talked about general steps that need to be taken in order to register a company, get business registration etc. as well as challenges that foreign entrepreneurs face when opening a business in Germany. Today we’ll focus on important things that have to do with opening a travel agency in Germany. Please note that some aspects may vary depending on the region.
Watch our video on important things for a travel agent (Reisevermittler) in Germany:
Travel agency (Reisevermittler)
Travel agency (Reisevermittler) is one of 3 general categories when it comes to travel businesses. As a travel agent (Reisevermittler) you convey services of third parties to customers. The remaining two categories are: travel operator (Reiseveranstalter) and travel advisor (Reiseberator). In this article we’re going to focus on travel agencies (Reisevermittler) since this is one of the most relevant options for our clients. Let’s see what you should pay attention to when opening such a business.
1. Duties and responsibilities
Being a travel agent (Reisevermittler), you have a duty to provide certain services to your clients. They include:
- mediation of individual, group and package tours,
- mediation and booking of accommodation, catering services and package stays,
- procurement of tickets for trains, planes and ships as well of other means of travel,
- providing information about the these services.
If you do not provide certain services, you need to clearly indicate the specific services that aren’t provided by you.
Moreover, you are expected to pass on the information provided by travel operators, such as:
- travel and visa requirements,
- information about general dangers at the destination,
- recommendation of certain insurance options,
- information about sanitary and hygienic requirements etc.
As a travel agent (Reisevermittler), you sign some contracts with your clients. Firstly, you need to sign a contract that clearly indicates that you mediate third-party services to the customers and help them conclude a contract with the provider. Secondly, you sign a contract that clearly lists your services, duties and responsibilities as a travel agent.
3. Reliability check
You don’t require a special permit to run a travel agency, however such an activity is considered a so-called supervised activity (überwachungsbedürftiges Gewerbe). Therefore, the reliability of the trader has to be checked through the respective authority: Public Order Office (Ordnungsamt). For the check you’ll need to obtain and provide the following documents to the authority:
- Certificate of good conduct (Führungszeugnis) and
- Extract from the Central Trade Register (Auskunft aus dem Gewerbezentralregister).
If you sell train or plane tickets directly, you need to obtain special licenses for this. For example, if you plan to sell ticket for the German Rail (Deutsche Bahn), you’ll need to obtain the Deutsche Bahn license. And if you plan to sell scheduled airline tickets, you’ll require an International Air Transport Association (IATA) license. There are also other licenses that would allow you to book certain services directly, so this should be checked in each case individually.
Our company, Nexus-Europe GmbH, provides turn-key solutions: from establishing a company to launching a ready-to-operate business. We can also assist you with obtaining the German residence permit because of business. Since all projects are guided by certified Project Management professionals (PMPs) you get a working business in Germany and ensured quality of performance. On time and on budget.
This document (and any information accessed through links in this document) is intended for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Each situation is unique and professional advice should always be obtained before taking or refraining from any action.