The future of tourism in Hamburg took centre stage at a press conference Wednesday at Google. Regardless of flight, hotel or rental car – nowadays holidays, travels and activities are best booked online. Travel portals, hotel booking services and many other players in tourism are benefiting from digital change, which is opening up ever-new opportunities, according to HHT.
Support with digitalisation
HHT is providing new services to support the industry in future and is co-operating with the U.S. provider of Google, among others. As part of the Future Workshop, a special programme entitled “We for you” will initially offer courses and seminars for up to 390 participants within three months. “We want to develop an open attitude and sensitization in the industry for opportunities of digital change,” said Michael Otremba, Managing Director of Hamburg Tourismus GmbH.
Maintaining a high standard of living
A record 13.8 million overnight stays were clocked up in Hamburg last year. The figure is likely to top the 14 million mark in 2018 and may rise to a maximum 22 million by 2025. There were not “too many tourists”, Otremba pointed out. HHT is keen on balancing out tourist flows and making visitors more aware of attractive districts such as Bergerdorf or Harburg. At the same time, emphasis should be inwards in future. A continued high standard of living and strong level of approval among people in Hamburg is crucial to the development of tourism.
New rules on private rentals to tourists
However, the increasing abuse of private flats as holiday apartments is a hot topic, according to the hotel industry. In a cover story about the sharing economy in Gastliebe magazine, Franz Klein, Dehoga President, noted: “The sharing economy has an extremely negative influence on the tourism industry, insofar as it concerns the rental of private housing for a fee. It distorts competition at the expense of the hotel industry, which is subject to complex fire protection, hygiene, security and reporting regulations.”
The ongoing abuse of private rentals leads to unwarranted use of scarce living space. Tax evasion and paying fees is another issue. “In Hamburg alone, about EUR 3 million in cultural and tourism taxes are lost every year,” Klein pointed out. The city is set to adopt a tougher course in the fight against illegal rentals and corresponding regulations* should be in place in 2019, said sources at the press briefing. People in Hamburg who sublet their apartments to tourists via platforms such as Airbnb will have to register their services in future.
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