Work in the travel industry in Germany

Tour operators and travel agencies in Germany do not require special authorisation to run their businesses. Just like other business owners, travel agents and tour operators must comply with the general commercial requirements, i. e. they must register their business with the competent trade agency, the tax office and, if necessary, have their business entered in the commercial register.

Tour operators based in a different EU Member State that operate in Germany on a temporary basis do not have to register their business. However, special tax rules may apply. The Posted Workers Act applies whenever employees are posted abroad.

For further information on administrative procedures as well as assistance, please contact our points of single contact.

For general information on how to establish a business and for specific information on the tourism sector in Germany, please visit the iXPOS Business Portal (in German) and the GTAI.

Contractual requirements

Travel agents and tour operators doing business in Germany must comply with the civil-procedure rules on travel-contract law, which are designed to protect travellers.

These provisions specify the respective rights and obligations of tourists and tour operators when it comes to package tours - including possibilities to modify the contract, to hold the operator liable for failure to provide services agreed in the contract, and to terminate the contract. These regulations are mostly mandatory law, which means that - even if agreed otherwise - operators must not derogate from these if this is to the tourist's disadvantage. The rules that apply in Germany (cf. Sections 651a ff. of the German Civil Code [BGB] [in German] transpose the EU Package Travel Directive, which applies throughout the EU, into national law. The current Directive 2015/2302 on package travel and linked travel arrangements, which was published in the Official Journal of the EU on 11 December 2015, updated and replaced the previous Directive 90/314 from 1990. In Germany, Directive 2015/2302 has been translated into national law by the third Act Amending Travel Regulations, which entered into force on 1 July 2018 and applies to contracts concluded from that date. In addition, tour operators are required to provide certain information, as stipulated in Article 205 section 3 of the Introductory Act to the German Civil Code (in German) and in the Ordinance on information obligations of service providers (in German). If tour operators also provide online services, they must also comply with the German Telemedia Act (in German).

A good overview (in German) is also provided by the brochure “Neue Rechte für Reisende” (in German) (New rights for travellers), which has been published by the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection and which sketches out the new legal situation from the traveller’s perspective.

Note: This text provides general advice only and is neither exhaustive nor legally binding.

The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy does not provide legal advice for individual cases. This task is the responsibility of the members of the legal professions, especially lawyers. This site cannot and is not intended to replace individual legal advice. We would therefore recommend that you consult a specialised lawyer or a dedicated advisory service to help with your individual questions and queries.