At the annual general meeting at the Augsburg Exhibition Center, Maria Rita Zenker, president of the association, spoke about the industry’s recovery and a new normal in dealing with the pandemic. About the hesitant ascent and the challenges that remain to be mastered.
Good winter and positive signs for the new season: After two years of the epidemic, tourism in the Swabian region is now looking to the future with more optimism.
There are no records to report yet
At the 71st annual general meeting of the Tourism Association of Allgäu/Bavaria-Swabia today at the Augsburg Exhibition Centre, the association’s president, Maria Rita Zenker, Director of the Ostalgau region, explained that there is reason to hope for a new normal in dealing with the pandemic. According to her, records in tourism have not yet been reported and the economic strength of tourism is still less than the reference year of 2019 by about a third. But it is clear that tourism is on the rise again.
Solidarity with city tourism and Augsburg as a site for trade fairs
According to the President, the fact that the general meeting of the Tourism Association took place at the Augsburg Exhibition Center in 2022 has a symbolic force. City tourism and trade fairs were particularly affected by the renewed decline in tourism figures in 2021 with 47 percent in guest arrivals and 37 percent in overnight stays. She wants to put a sign of solidarity here – just like her deputy Johannes Hintersberger, MdL, has been an advocate of Messe Augsburg for many years.
The shortage of labor and housing burdens the industry
The chairwoman of the Tourism Association sees the current challenges primarily in the ubiquitous shortage of workers and housing. And it got worse during the Corona period. The Allgäu TopHotels collaboration alone speaks of more than 1,000 vacancies. Attempts are being made to increase the attractiveness of jobs in the hotel and restaurant industry at various levels.
Millions of funding from Free State
Zenker explicitly thanked Free State for the special funds as part of the €30 million “Fit for the Future” programme. Her Urgent Appeal: “We need more time to apply for and access funding. Deadlines should be extended and funds transferred to 2023 so that bureaucratic hurdles can be removed and projects implemented with due diligence.”
The Tourism Association takes on new tasks
Bernard Joachim, Managing Director of the Tourism Association, emphasized the new tasks of raising awareness in the areas of sustainability, visitor management, tourism acceptance and regionalism. In his report he described – in addition to extensive marketing work in both destinations of the union – initiatives such as digitization and sustainability training for small landlords or the newly launched “Culinary Heritage Allgäu & Bavarian Swabia”.
The importance of society in crises
On behalf of the mayor of Augsburg, Eva Weber, city councilor and head of the Dioga district, Leo Dietz, spoke in front of about 60 guests who attended at the start of the event. The pandemic would have demonstrated the great added value of interest groups such as the Tourism Federation or the Hotel and Restaurant Association in overcoming the crisis together. As a representative of the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, Dr. Eva Goetz wished a good start for Swabia tourism and emphasized that in addition to the support programmes, the two years of advertising “holidays at home” have laid a good basis for the optimistic predictions.
Messi Augsburg as an economic engine
Trade Show Director Lorenz A. Roe the annual general meeting with a presentation on the Augsburg Trade Fair as an economic engine for Swabia. According to him, Augsburg is also one of the youngest and – with the new hall – one of the most modern exhibition centers in Germany. Taking into account indirect profitability, the trade fair provides 30 million euros in tax revenue, 1,900 jobs and a purchasing power of 130 million euros. “Many of the trade fair participants come back to the area later as holiday guests,” continues Rao.