Willy Scharnow Tourism Foundation – Short Portrayal

The Founder

Willy Scharnow (1897 – 1985) was one of the most important pioneers in German tourism. In the 1950ies he developed his company „Scharnow-Reisen“ to the number two tour operator in Germany. Together with Touropa, Dr. Tigges and Hummel-Reisen Scharnow-Reisen founded TUI.

In 1953 Willy Scharnow established the „Foundation for international destination knowledge of the youth“ to grant better professional opportunities to the new generation in tourism by an improved vocational and advanced training. In honour of the founder it is nowadays named „Willy Scharnow Foundation for Tourism“.

Objectives of the Foundation:

  • Support of dedicated touristical employees
  • Achievement of above-average responsibility and by this additional motivation to work in tourism

The 6 business segments of the Foundation:

Educational tours and seminars

Offering study tours and seminars is the foundation’s core task. In cooperation with various partners in the travel trade the foundation annually organises appr. 80 workshops and educational tours worldwide with 1.500 participants, travel agents and staff members of tour operators.

The study tours and seminars are strategically planned and comply with current market requirements and future trends. The emphasis is the presentation of a partner country, lesser known tourism destinations worldwide and to improve the knowledge of hidden domestic destinations in Germany, too.

Scholarships for practical trainings in foreign countries

Work experiences in foreign countries are valuable enrichments to the vocational training of young travel agents and undergraduates of tourism. Therefore the Foundation grants scholarships for practical trainings in touristical companies in abroad. The financial support amounts to € 200 monthly for at least 4 and up to 12 months.

Language courses – national and abroad

Since 2004 the foundation grants within dedicated budget limits a financial contribution of max. 50% up to the maximum of 300 € to the course fee to travel agents learning or deepening a foreign language in Germany or abroad.

The courses are supported due to costs and duration. A confirmation of regular participation and a certificate are to be presented. All travel trade employees and undergraduates of tourism may apply for the funding.

Top score apprenticeship recognition

Jointly with Fraport – the airport managers, Deutsche Lufthansa and Deutsche Bahn the foundation annually awards the top apprenticeship qualifiers of the official German travel agency training programme arranging an informative function. Additionally they are invited to take get a special contribution for participating in a study tour of the foundation.

Since 2008 the foundation also awards the top apprenticeship qualifiers of the new learning programm Management Assistant for Tourism and Leisure.

Willy Scharnow Award

Until 2016, once a year the Willy Scharnow Award was announced to companies in the travel trade for innovative and sustained projects and outstanding training programmes for travel trade staff. The presentation ceremony annually took place on the occasion of the ITB in Berlin. At the moment, this business segment is inactive.

Scientific research on subjects relevant to the travel trade

Since 1960 Willy Scharnow Tourism Foundation concluded research assignments on current trade matters if required. This business segment was institutionalised in 1999 by the foundation of the Willy Scharnow Institute at “Freie Universität” in Berlin. Various studies with a focus on vocational and advanced training were compiled until 2006.

After the study course “tourism management” was terminated at FU Berlin in 2008, the Willy Scharnow Institute is no longer sustained. Currently the foundation concentrates its contribution to the Historical Archive for Tourism (HAT), curently located at TU Berlin, which keeps an impressive documentation of tourism developments from the early 19th century, until today.


The funds of the Foundation amount appr. to 8.3 m €. Interests earned from this capital plus donations and sponsoring from the travel trade ensure the efficiency of the foundation. Thus the Willy Scharnow Foundation is in the position to spend about one million euro annually on the activity programme.


The Willy Scharnow Foundation is supported by numerous partners of the travel trade as tour operators, travel agencies, airlines, shipping companies and associations. The foundation has a close collaboration with Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Deutsche Bahn AG, Fraport, FTI group,
REWE group and the tour operators schauinsland-reisen, Studiosus Reisen as well as the company Holiday Extras.

Board of trustees

Klaus Laepple (Chairman)
Jürgen Büchy, Hennef, (Deputy Chairman)

Richard Bader, Chairman, ERGO Reiseversicherung AG, München
Professor Dr. Volker Böttcher, Hochschule Harz
Professor Dr. Adrian von Dörnberg, Hochschule Heilbronn
Felix Eichhorn, President, AIDA Cruises, Rostock
Petra Hedorfer, Chief Executive Officer, German National Tourist Board, Frankfurt am Main
Gerald Kassner, Chief Executive Officer, schauinsland-reisen gmbh, Duisburg
Hanna Kleber, President, Corps Touristique e.V., Frankfurt
Walter Krombach, former Manager, Willy Scharnow-Stiftung für Touristik, Frankfurt
Peter-Mario Kubsch, Chief Executive Officer, Studiosus Reisen München GmbH, München
Georg Lauber, Chief Executive Officer, DB Vertrieb GmbH, Frankfurt am Main
Alexander Panczuk, Executive Director External Affairs and Development, TUI Care Foundation, Berlin
Ralph Schiller, Group Managing Director FTI GROUP, FTI Touristik GmbH, München
Dr. Carsten Seeliger, Managing Director, Thomas Cook Touristik GmbH, Oberursel
Jürgen Siebenrock, Vice President Sales Home Markets & Global Key Account Management, Lufthansa Group Airline Sales, Frankfurt
Mark Tantz, Managing Director, DER Touristik Frankfurt GmbH & Co. KG, Frankfurt
Günther Kahn, Hannover, (Honorary Chairman)


TEL. 069 / 27 39 07 16 • FAX 069 / 27 39 07 66
E-Mail: info@willyscharnowstiftung.de