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Tourism Policy and Planning In Luxembourg Report


The existence of a strong economy in any nation is associated with the policy environment that the administration has put in place. Tourism policy determines the performance of this industry.

Hall (2008) states that the study of policy within a specific area of economy enables researchers and planners to understand the policy decisions and their impacts, provide possible solutions, and help readers to understand the interests and values that were incorporated in the policy formulation.

The study of tourism policy is an impotent field because it allows researchers to understand the determinants of performance in tourism in a given area and the factors that influence this performance.

The tourism industry is under tight government control in most nations. Thus, the study of tourism policy is a simple means of studying the administrative structures in a given nation. The development of a working policy can be done at the national, local, and provincial levels.

According to Kerr (2003), these three levels should all be involved for an effective policy. An example of a nation with a tourism policy in place is Luxembourg. This report takes a brief look at the country and tourism and planning policies that exist in this nation. The report also provides a critique of tourism and planning policies in Luxembourg.


Luxembourg is a small nation in Europe that has a significant diversity in culture. It has undergone a series of changes in the past few decades. The country is landlocked, with its location being in the midst of three countries, namely Belgium, France, and Germany.

Therefore, Luxembourg does not have access to the sea. Hence, it has no beaches or coastal hotels for tourists. However, this does not mean that the nation does not have its fair share of local and international tourism. With a population of just over 500,000 people, the country is one of the least populated in Europe (Blanke & Chiesa 2013).

Luxembourg has had the highest demographic growth within the EU during the last decade, thus indicating its wealth within the region (Blanke & Chiesa 2013). Luxembourg is approximately half the size of Dubai, with a population a number of times smaller. The country covers 2600 square kilometres in surface area.

In 2011, Luxembourg had a Gross Domestic Product of $59.6 billion with a GDP per capita of $80,558.8 for the same year (Blanke & Chiesa 2013). The real GDP growth for 2011 was 1.6%. This figure has continued to improve over the last two years (Blanke & Chiesa 2013).

The percentage of the population over 5 years in 2012 was 14.1%, with the unemployment rate for the same year being 6.1 % (Tourists in Figures 2013). Tourism is a major economic pillar in Luxembourg. It contributed 8.3% of the GDP in 2009 (Tourists in Figures 2013).

The nation has diverse tourist attractions, with its people being hospitable and kind. The main attractions in the country include the coast, the Historic cities, Flemish countryside, and the Walloon region (Tourists in Figures 2013).

The main towns of Luxembourg are Luxembourg and Esch-sur-Alzette, with the official national language being Luxembourgish. Other languages such as French and German are also used for administrative functions. The country enjoys a pleasant climate, with the weather being favourable between May and October.

The population is mainly rural, with 81,800 of the inhabitants living in towns while the rest live in rural areas (Tourists in Figures 2013). There is a significantly large foreign population in the country.

This observation can be attributed to the growth in tourism and international trade. According to Blanke and Chiesa (2013), 38.6% of the population in the country is foreigners who are mainly employed in the manufacturing and tourism industries.

In 2012, the tourism industry contributed 2% to the national GDP, which translated to $ 1.186 billion (Blanke & Chiesa 2013). The industry also created significant employment opportunities to the locals and international workers. 2.6% of the population is employed in the industry, with the actual number being 6,100 jobs (Blanke & Chiesa 2013).

There are thousands of international arrivals every year in the country, with growth increasingly being experienced in this area. In 2011, for example, the international arrivals were 542,600 with this population generating a total of $ 4.8 billion over the same period (Blanke & Chiesa 2013).

Although this figure represented a growth in the international tourism receipts, the number of international tourists visiting Luxembourg was significantly small in relation to previous years.

Policy and Planning

A tourism policy is necessary to ensure that the benefits associated with tourism are enjoyed while making the maximum use of the available natural resources. Luxembourg is one nation with an existing tourism policy. It has ensured that this policy is followed within the tourism activities.

The country mainly attracts international tourists from the neighbouring countries, especially those from Europe (Kavoura 2007). The policy on the international tourists has ensured that the main visitors are those from the neighbouring countries.

Approximately half of the tourists are from the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany (Greenwood, Williams & Shaw 1990). The other half of tourists are from other parts of Europe such as the UK and France, with few of these visitors coming from the US (Greenwood, Williams & Shaw 1990).

The country has also embarked on the marketing of its tourist attractions over the internet. An official website is currently operational (Human 1994). The country also has a tourism board that runs advertising and marketing campaigns that are mainly focused on the natural and historic attractions in the country.

As a result, the country receives over 900,000 visitors from different parts of the world, with a bulk of them gathering the information they need from the official website.

Luxembourg has an existing tourism plan that states the objectives of the tourism industry, defines special areas where special tourism activities are to take place, and imposes regulations of these (Greenwood, Williams & Shaw 1990).

The average number of nights that the tourists to Luxembourg spend is 2.5 nights. The government has been on a campaign to increase that period that the guests spend in the hotels. Another strategy that the minister in charge of the tourism sector has established is the creation of a tourism marketing committee that allows the various members to market the industry to different parts of the world.

The government also organises cultural events and other activities in the embassies and high commissions across Europe, with this strategy being a move to attract the Europeans (World Economic Forum, 2013). Luxembourg prides itself as being the centre of the European Union. It advertises itself as the origin of the group of nations that constitute the EU.

The country has a policy that favours business tourism. The frequent campaigns to boost tourism have also taken this route. Therefore, the tourism industry has been greatly influenced by the financial sector, with the ministers of finance and tourism in the country having similar calls on tourists to engage in financial tourism (Zahra & Ryan 2005).

Efforts of marketing and advertising for the development of business tourism have had significant success. According to Blanke and Chiesa (2013), business tourism accounts for 44% of overnight stays.

The minister of commerce and the economy has put in place several projects and incentives to develop business in Luxembourg. Some other projects of this kind have also been proposed for future development.

The country has also developed other policies that are related to the tourism sector. One such policy is the development of special rules and regulations for the tourism stakeholders. The hotel and catering industry is the most affected, with rules governing these areas of the economy.

Hotel owners are allowed to carry out their activities in a facilitating environment, and this includes the exemption of tax for some of hotels and careering businesses that promote tourism.

Luxembourg has a minister in charge of the tourism industry, but the minister is also in charge of other industries such as agriculture, rural development, and training (Hannam 2002). The existence of the ministry allows the formulation of policies that are specially tailored for the country.

Luxembourg has a well-developed transport system, with the main modes of transport being through road and rail networks. Local roads serve the areas that are deemed tourist attraction sites under the control of the national government (Greenwood, Williams & Shaw 1990).

The development in infrastructure is dependent on the size of contribution to the national economy and the GDP in general. Since tourism only contributes only a significant part of the GDP, there are few infrastructure developments to the tourist attraction sites. However, these developments are accessible through many routes.

The country has also developed an environmental policy to protect its environment from degradation. This plan is considered a way of ensuring that there are many natural sites on the rural areas. Despite the measures to conserve the environment, increased tourism has contributed to environmental degradation

The rules in Luxembourg prohibit tourist activities that may violate human rights. Examples of these include sex tourism and human trafficking that have been reported in other areas of Europe and other tourism centres around the world.

Tourists are allowed to enjoy the natural environment and historical sites as long as they act within the rules and regulations of the country. The preservation of the cultural sites is also a policy of the Luxembourg authorities.

The regulations make it illegal to hunt the animals in the natural habitats or carry out trade in illegal animal products (Blanke & Chiesa 2013). These regulations allow a room for the protection of the endangered species and the protection of the cultural sites.


The policies and planning methods used in Luxembourg are appropriate and effective. However, several areas are deficient and can lead to the negative performance of the sector. Therefore, the following section provides a critique of the tourism policies and planning in Luxembourg that is provided above.

One of the policies that may have a negative effect on the tourism industry in the country is the high reliance on the European market and tourists from the neighbouring countries. In the wake of the global financial crisis, the European market was mostly affected (Blanke & Chiesa 2013).

There was poor performance that was reported in the tourism sectors of almost all the European Union countries, with a drop in the international travel. The result of this drop in the European market meant that Luxembourg experienced a drop in the number of international tourists from Europe and its neighbours (Blanke & Chiesa 2013).

With the significant contribution that is made to the national economy by the tourism industry, a drop in the tourism sector meant a drop in the overall economic performance for this nation.

There are different parts of the world such as the Middle East and Asia from which the planners and policymakers can attract tourists.

The economy, especially the tourism sector, would have been more resilient to the global economic crisis if there had been significant effort to include the other markets, which are outside the European Union.

Some of these markets such as China are reported to have experienced weaker effects of the global crisis. As a result, their international tourists may have complemented those from the EU (Zahra & Ryan 2005).

The other weakness with the nation’s tourism planning and policy is the planning that is accorded to the infrastructure part of the industry (Zahra & Ryan 2005). Any economy that hopes to increase its gains from the tourism sector needs to ensure that the infrastructure in place is sufficient to cover the areas where tourism is crucial (Zahra & Ryan 2005).

Therefore, Luxembourg may engage in the building of infrastructure projects, especially roads, to serve the tourist destinations. The building of more infrastructure projects will also be important in intensifying mobility in the local setup.

This strategy will be a positive influence to local tourism. Several areas are attractive to the local and international tourists. However, they are inaccessible due to poor infrastructure. The government needs to improve the roads serving the tourist attraction areas.

The average night spent at the hotels and catering areas in the country is 2.5 nights as stated above (Blanke & Chiesa 2013). This means that the tourists visiting the country are mainly drawn to the country during weekends, with only the weekends being the days where the visitors spend the night at the tourist areas.

The country needs to develop an alternative marketing strategy to ensure that it is also marketed as a business centre and that tourists can conduct their businesses while still in the country. The result of such a move will be an improvement in the number of nights spent in the country for the international tourists (Zagris & Emery 1988).

The county can also market itself as an economic hub and/or the main link for all other states in the EU because of the different areas and landmark buildings that symbolise the European unity (Zahra & Ryan 2005).

Luxembourg faces a challenge with the developments that are expected in the tourism sector such as the increased pollution that is occasioned by the amplified number of visitors and the numb of planes and vehicles bringing these tourists to the country.

The pollution forms, which will be evident, include air pollution, water pollution, and sound pollution (Zahra & Ryan 2005). The presence of these forms of pollution will diminish the image of the country as a largely natural area.

The result is a decrease in the tourism earnings. The relatively small area that the nation occupies is easy to pollute. Therefore, there will be consequences of the same such as loss of the market and decreased tourism returns (Human 1994).

Luxembourg has a minister who is in charge of tourism, agriculture, and housing among other things. Since tourism is an important contributor to the national GDP, the management may constitute qualified personnel working in a fully-fledged ministry (Human 1994).

On the other hand, Luxembourg does not have an independent tourism ministry. Hence, there is difficulty in coordination. To ensure that the tourism sector performs, the government should split up the ministry and award tourism a full ministry.

This arrangement will be important in simplifying the national planning and policies on tourism. Despite the few mentioned weaknesses, the tourism policies and planning methods are very effective. They can improve the economy.


The development of appropriate policies in any industry is important as it guarantees a framework by which all things are performed. The tourism industry has been recognised in the report as an important part of any country.

The report also establishes that Luxembourg has a working national tourism policy, with few weaknesses whose improvements have been proposed.

The paper proposes that the country can engage in the development of many infrastructure projects. It can embark on marketing to other areas apart from Europe while establishing a tourism ministry that is independent of other ministries.


Blanke, J & Chiesa, T 2013, The travel & Tourism Competitive Report 2013; country/Economy Profiles, <>.

Greenwood, J, Williams, A & Shaw, G 1990, ‘Policy implementation and tourism in the UK. Implications from recent tourism research in Cornwall’, Tourism Management, vol. 11 no. 1, pp. 53-62.

Hall, C 2008, Tourism Planning: Policies, Processes and Relationships, Pearson Education, Harlow.

Hannam, K 2002. ‘Tourism and development: globalisation and power’, Progress in Development Studies, vol. 2 no. 3, pp. 227-234.

Human, B 1994, ‘Visitor management in the public planning policy context: A case study of Cambridge’, Journal of Sustainable Tourism, vol. 2 no. 4, pp. 221-230.

Kavoura, A 2007, ‘Advertising of National Identity and Tourism Bureaucracy’, Current Issues in Tourism, vol. 10 no. 5, pp. 397 – 414.

Kerr, W 2003, Tourism Public Policy, and the strategic Management of Failure, Pergamon, New York, NY.

Tourists in Figures 2013, The Luxembourg market in Flanders, Kenisbeheer, Routlege, London.

Zagris, B & Emery 1988, ‘Tourism: the orphan of Caribbean programmes, Journal of Travel Research, vol. 26 no. 3, pp. 24-28.

Zahra, A & Ryan, C 2005, ‘National Tourism Organisations — Politics, Functions and Form: A New Zealand Case Study’, Anatolia, vol. 16 no. 1, pp. 5-26.

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