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 thus additional motivation to work in tourism

The 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. 60 workshops and educational tours worldwide with 600 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 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 receive a voucher valid for one of the foundation’s study tours in Germany or Europe (up to the amount of € 150).

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


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.


The Willy Scharnow Foundation is supported by numerous well-known partners of the travel trade e.g.  as tour operators, travel agencies, airlines, shipping companies and associations who are established at the market.

Board of trustees

Jürgen Büchy, (Chairman), Hennef
Peter-Mario Kubsch, (Deputy Chairman), Chief Executive Officer, Studiosus Reisen München GmbH, München

Richard Bader, Chairman of Management, ERGO Reiseversicherung AG, München
Professor Dr. Adrian von Dörnberg, IST-Hochschule für Management, Düsseldorf
Felix Eichhorn, President, AIDA Cruises, Rostock
Petra Hedorfer, Chief Executive Officer, Deutsche Zentrale für Tourismus e.V. (DZT), Frankfurt am Main)
Klaus Hildebrandt, Editor-in-Chief fvw I TravelTalk, Hamburg
Bernd Hoffmann, Head of Public Policy, Leiter Konzernbüro Berlin, Group Corporate & External Affairs, TUI Group, Hannover
Alexander Karst, Senior Director Sales Germany, Lufthansa Group | Airline Sales Austrian, Lufthansa, SWISS, Frankfurt am Main
Gerald Kassner, Chief Executive, schauinsland-reisen gmbh, Duisburg
Hanna Kleber, President, Corps Touristique e.V., Frankfurt am Main
Klaus Laepple, former Chairman Willy Scharnow-Stiftung, Düsseldorf
Markus Orth, Managing Director, Lufthansa City Center Reisebüropartner GmbH, Frankfurt am Main
Ralph Schiller, Vice Chairman of Supervisory Board FTI GROUP, FTI Touristik GmbH, München
Mark Tantz, Managing Director, DERTOUR Central Europe GmbH, Köln

Günther Kahn, Hannover, (Honorary Chairman)


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