Tourism Regulation and Coordination
Tourism and leisure are horizontal issues embedded in a highly fragmented environment of competent authorities. According to Article 15 of the Federal Constitutional Act (B-VG, General Clause), Austria’s nine Federal Provinces have the legislative and executive competencies for tourism and leisure affairs.
The Federal Government
... is responsible for affairs determined in the Federal Constitutional Act – tourism is not among these. However, many ministries are responsible for legal acts directly or indirectly affecting tourism and leisure in areas such as transport, labour market, commercial law, internal security, entry and exit formalities, international treaties, federal finances (taxes, fees), consumer protection, health and safety, etc.
The Federal Ministry of Labour and Economy has tourism in its portfolio (State Secretary for Tourism) to define a coordinating national tourism strategy, to run national funding programmes and oversee national tourism marketing as well as to work on strategic issues for tourism at national and international level. Synergies between the national and regional levels are strengthened via a Steering Group for Tourism. Cooperation with other ministries, departments, institutions and the tourism industry is organised on specific topics either via permanent groups or round tables (e.g. communication, sustainable mobility, visas, cycle tourism), or on a case-by-case basis (e.g. new funding schemes, new legislation affecting tourism).
The Federal Provinces
… are responsible for adopting and enacting legislation on tourism. Austria has nine separated tourism laws of the federal provinces with each federal province implementing an individual tourism strategy including marketing and funding.
Tourism laws may include:
- Territorial structuring (destination classification of municipalities; tourism regions)
- Organisation and administration (tourism associations)
- Financing (fees and taxes)
Moreover, the federal provinces are the competent regulatory authorities for other issues relevant for tourism such as nature protection, regional planning, building codes and infrastructure (such as regional roads) and more.
In 1911, Tyrol was the first federal province to enact a tourism law. It is said to be the world´s oldest tourism law and the basis of today’s tourism organisation and administration of the federal provinces. It focused on the establishment of statutory tourism associations and funding through compulsory company fees.