Berlin Attractions Provide a Model for How Operators can Organize Locally

Berlin’s Intoura offers a promising example of how operators can organize locally to influence policy and build a better tourism workforce.

Reading Time: 6 mins

A small but growing group of Berlin attractions and tour operators has organized to take an active hand in shaping local tourism policy and protecting their own interests.

Intoura was formed as a non-profit association in 2011 with seven members. The group has grown to 64 members including attraction and sightseeing operators and businesses that offer tourism-related services. Rather than promoting member businesses directly, Intoura primarily functions as a lobbying group, a unique approach to exerting influence with local government authorities and shaping the direction of tourism policy in their city.

“We address everything that could be a hurdle for visitors to Berlin and try to find solutions through meetings, discussions, and visits with politicians and people responsible for city services or urban policy,” said Gordon Freiherr von Godin, Director of the DDR Museum and a principal member of Intoura’s six-member Board of Directors.

Direct members include theaters, museums, exhibitions, tour guides, and travel agencies that book tours and activities for inbound visitors, as well as sightseeing-related transportation operators.  Berlin businesses that provide services to tourism companies can join as sponsoring members. These include insurance providers, banks, printing companies, educational/training services and advertising agencies. The organization’s activities are supported by membership dues, with sponsors paying a higher rate.

How Intoura got its start

Intoura was created because, “We are the guys who make the visitor stay in Berlin attractive, but as attractions we were not part of any family,” said von Godin, referring to existing tourism organizations like the city’s hotel and restaurant association. “So we built this association to organize and address issues that are important to tourism in Berlin.”

Those issues can cover a broad range, from traffic flow, infrastructure, safety, cleanliness, and accessibility for handicapped people to the direction of the city’s long-term tourism development strategy.

“It’s helpful for the city to have an association that thinks of things from the perspective of visitors to attractions — how they feel about Berlin, how easy it is to get through the city from attraction to attraction, what kind of infrastructure they need,” he said. “That’s helpful for the city and it’s also helpful for our members, because not everybody can be in touch with political decision makers.”

Pushing back on an ad-free initiative

As a lobbying group, Intoura also tackles anything that would make it more difficult for attraction operators to do business in the city. A case in point is a current initiative to limit all advertising in Berlin’s public spaces.

While the initiative would apply to all businesses and types of advertising in public spaces, including LED displays, billboards and kiosks, it would also eliminate a long-standing practice of smaller tourism-related businesses to post ads around town on public structures and buildings in disuse. The initiative is in the early stages, gathering signatures from residents before moving to possible action by the city council.  

Intoura invited the initiative’s backers to a meeting to gain an understanding of their motivation.

“People put posters up to advertise their attractions. That’s been very common in Berlin over the last 20 years,” said von Godin. “We had a conversation with them about how to prevent this initiative from going further so tourism attractions could continue this type of advertising in the future.”

Intoura opposes the initiative, “because it doesn’t match our idea of what Berlin is,” he said. “Berlin is a cultural, urban place. And Berlin is multicultural. There are inhabitants here from all over the world. It must be possible for a small club started by a newbie to the city to advertise in a much different way than to buy a billboard. They need different ways to make their culture public and make people aware of them.”

Intoura’s Main Focus in 2019

Intoura’s main focus this year, continued from 2018, is to help reshape language in the Sustainable and City-Compatible Berlin Tourism Plan 2018+ to move it away from an emphasis on what the plan has identified as over-tourism.

Berlin’s tourism industry has grown steadily since 1990. and in 2018 the city hosted 13.7 million visitors. Tourism spending contributed €11.6 billion to Berlin’s coffers and supported 250,000 full-time jobs, positioning it as a main pillar of the city’s economy.  

“We don’t see in this plan a real vision for Berlin tourism. Of course we need to work on the problems we have, but we don’t believe we have over tourism,” von Godin said. “Intoura members don’t believe that writing that into the plan is helpful in supporting tourism to Berlin, which we see as the biggest and brightest economic stripe in a colorful city.”

Tourism Education & Workforce Recruitment

In addition to its lobbying efforts, Intoura works closely with other organizations including visitBerlin, the city’s official destination marketing organization. Intoura members also help tourism startups get established in the city, and help educate Berlin youth about what the tourism industry is about, and what it can offer in terms of a profession.

A year ago, Intoura created a job board on its website for candidates and prospective employees. “We recognized that many people are going to other industries, so the main reason for this is to keep people, knowledge and skills inside the tourism industry in Berlin,” he said. “It’s quite new but it’s very important.”

Intoura has established itself as a unique model that gives a voice and political clout to local attractions operators. As such, successes have been small and slow, but steady.

“We are getting more and more professional, and we know more from year to year how to solve problems, how to get involved in processes, communications and decisions,” von Godin said. “It’s complicated and it takes time. Sometimes we need to explain who we are. But this association is relevant and important for tourism services and companies who want to do business in this city.”

“We built this association to organize and address issues that are important to tourism in Berlin.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Trending

already a member?

Lost your password?

NEED TO REGISTER?

Become an Arival Insider
THE ARIVAL INSIDER PRO ACCESS MEMBERSHIP; YOU GET ALL THIS TO HELP YOU ADVANCE YOUR BUSINESS.

Included in Free Membership

Included in Arival Pro Membership

The Arival on-demand video library archive
Access to the entire library of over 150 video sessions and webinars

Arival.guides
Short, digestible research & trends reports delivering insights into our industry, such as The Tour Operator Outlook for 2021.

Arival.travel articles
Topical articles about marketing, tech, operator business and operator stories in all areas of tours, activities & attractions & experiences

Job board access
Find a job from our regular listings, post a resume to the talent network and learn strategies from the job resources articles

New webinars
Helpful, instructional sessions covering subjects such as Mastering Facebook Ads, Grow Your Business and How To Work With OTAs — topics to help advance your business.

Discounts on all Arival in-person events
20% Discount on all Arival in-person events (save up to $300)* based on business type

Arival ProShield – Insurance program
Access to tailored insurance solutions by Granite Insurance is available exclusively for Arival Insider Pro Access Members. Insider Pro Access Members also have access to a suite of resources from Granite Insurance including templates, forms and other informative documents.

Insiders Pro Access member exclusive webinars
Paid membership-only webinars to deepen your understanding of important industry topics.

Job postings & talent directory
Post jobs & connect with candidates most applicable to your business.

Private roundtables to connect, learn and engage
Small, focused and intimate discussions exclusive to Arival Insider Pro Access members.

Full access to Arival’s library of in-depth reports
Up to date, deep analysis of tourism topics ranging from Self-guided Tours to Sales & Distribution Trends and Outlooks, based on the data that defines the industry.

The latest on-demand videos
Over 350+ on-demand videos featuring hot topics in tours, activities & attractions

Insider discounts in digital marketing, tech, e-learning, and more
Save money on additional tools, services and learnings you need to run your business. Exclusive to paid members.

Membership Overview
ARIVAL CODE OF CONDUCT​
CONFERENCES AND COMMUNITY SPACES​

At Arival, we believe travel can make the world a better place. Our mission is to establish and inspire a diverse community of individuals and companies in the In-destination Industry by providing opportunities to gain insight, share knowledge and build connections. To make it possible for true collaboration, creativity, innovation, and idea exchange to thrive, we are committed to facilitating a welcoming and respectful community for all. This Conference Code of Conduct shares our community expectations and applies to all attendees, employees, exhibitors, speakers, sponsors, volunteers, and other participants at Arival- produced and sponsored events. We empower all participants in our community to actively engage in creating a friendly, inclusive and safe environment for all.

Arival’s core values include the following, and create an expectation for conduct at our events and in online community spaces:

We demonstrate a deep respect for human beings inside and outside our company and for the communities in which they live.
We value integrity and strive to consistently interact with others in ways that are authentic, ethical, and fair.
We are dedicated to transparency, committing to clear, open and honest communication.
We actively pursue and advocate for inclusion, diversity and representation of varying cultural backgrounds, perspectives and ideas

Arival welcomes people from all cultural backgrounds, and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, gender (including pregnancy, perceived pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or related medical conditions), gender identity, religion (including religious dress and grooming), marital status, domestic partner status, genetic information, age, national origin or ancestry, military or veteran status, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, or any other basis protected by federal, state, or local laws.

Accordingly, participants must refrain from displaying any demeaning, harassing, aggressive, or intimidating behavior or materials that would interfere with others’ experience and participation in our community.

If you witness or are subjected to inappropriate or disruptive behavior or have any other concerns, notify an Arival staff member as soon as possible.

Inappropriate or disruptive behavior will not be tolerated. Arival reserves the right to refuse entry to or remove any party from any event or community space at any time when participation or behavior create a disruption or hinder the event or enjoyment of the event by other participants. All determinations are at the sole discretion of Arival, and the decision of the Arival team will be final. Severe breaches of this Conference Code of Conduct may result in disqualification from participating in future events. Individuals expelled due to violating this Conference Code of Conduct will not be eligible for a refund or other consolation.

If you have questions regarding this Conference Code of Conduct or its implementation, please contact us at [email protected].