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Trade & Tourism

Trade & Tourism

Focus on Culture - Trade & Tourism

“If I'm selling to you, I speak your language.

If I'm buying, dann müssen Sie Deutsch sprechen.”

Willi Brandt – former Chancellor of Germany

Companies are global enterprises, the world is a much smaller place.

We live in a multilingual market place, where language skills are valued not only for communicating ideas, but as a sign of respect for other people and cultures.




German is the most widely spoken first language in Europe,  the second most spoken second language, and is being learnt throughout the world.

German is a significant world language for securing global investment, research and trade opportunities. For example:-

Importance of Skills in Languages

The European Council's aim for all citizens is to have skills in 1 plus 2 languages: the first and two additional languages. Skills in languages will improve the life chances for its citizens to move within and across cultures.

The European Commission acknowledge that "The ability to communicate in several languages is a great benefit for individuals, organisations and companies alike. It enhances creativity, breaks down cultural stereotypes, encourages thinking ‘outside the box’, and can help develop innovative products and services."


All major Swiss multinational corporations are represented in Australia.

  • Switzerland - AusTrade Country Profiles
  • SAAN - Swiss Australian Academic Network




Germany is the fifth largest economy in the world, making German a significant language of business in world markets and a reliable partner in the European Union.

In 2010 Germany exported goods worth 951.9 billion euro and imported goods worth 797.6 billion euro. The foreign trade balance achieved a "surplus" of 154.3 billion euro.

The German Federal Foreign Office policy headings on their website include: Bilateral Relations, Europe, Peace and Security, Global Issues, Human Rights, Humanitarian Aid, Cultural and Intercultural Dialogue.

Contemporary Germany

Germany is a worldwide leader in environmentally friendly technologies. Germany accounts for 40% of the solar energy produced worldwide.

See also Focus on Culture: Ideas & Innovation

Germany and Australia

Germany is an important trading partner for Australia. There are 200 Australian companies in Germany.

Germany is Australia's fifth largest source of foreign direct investment and Australia's fourth largest investment destination.

There are more than 300 subsidiaries of German companies in Australia with more than 650 outlets and contributing to securing 100,000 jobs.

Germany looks to Australia as part of their interest in the Asia-Pacific region. The Goethe-Institut regional headquarters is in Jakarta in Indonesia.

German Investment in Education in Australia

In 2010, the Federal Republic of Germany government invested 7 million dollars in education in Australia through the provision of educational services to teachers, students and academics. Most of these services are faciliated by Goethe-Institut Australia and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

Every Australian university has partnerships with German-speaking countries and exchanges not funded by Germany.

In 2011, RMIT lists 103 of the 133 international partner companies being in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein for their RIIERP industry experience program. RMIT also have partner relationships with universities.

Jobs with German in Australia and Beyond

Transnational companies provide employment opportunities in branches in Australia and throughout the world.

"In Australia, there are more than 300 subsidiaries of German companies alone. Including their branches, there are about 750 German-owned establishments in Australia. Most of them are located in the Eastern states of Victoria and New South Wales. German companies are providing some 60,000 jobs to Australians."  Article on the German Embassy website, March 2011  [Source]

Given that 135 of the German companies are based in Victoria, knowledge of German will give you an edge on an application, whether it be as an engineer through or a cleaner. Most employers respect the ability to speak more than one language.

Many Australian companies import and sell goods from German-speaking countries in Europe, as well as export to Germany. Many would like to break into this market. Understanding what appeals to German-speakers can only be deeply understood through their language.

Lost in Translation

Direct translations can miss the nuances of words in their cultural and linguistic context. Germans are accused of being too direct in English. If we understand how the imperative functions in German, and how this translates directly into English, we can understand that what is perceived as 'direct' is a direct translation into English and can even sound a bit rude. In German, there is a formal form of the verb, which when used in German is polite. The speaker of German needs an explanation on how to deliver this type of message more appropriately in the specific English-speaking setting. Of course, English speakers need to learn how to use German correctly, and lucky for them, the formal form is easy to handle! Getting familiar is when it becomes difficult.

Intercultural skills in a global market place demand skills in languages.

Non-Government Associations

Australia in German-Speaking Europe

Australian diplomatic presence in German-speaking Europe  to promote collaborative partnerships and agreements.

Read about how Australia promotes itself and the types of events staged in these countries.

Austrade in German-Speaking Europe

The federal government actively seeks global trading opportunities, one being through Austrade.

Brand Australia aims to better position Australia as a global citizen, global business partner and world class destination.

History of International Trade in Europe

  • Hanseatic League - The tradition of global trade and economic alliance began in the middle ages.
  • European Union - Germany was a founding member of this union challenged with securing peace and economic stability in Europe.

A Look Back in Time


Die beste Bildung findet ein gescheiter Mensch auf Reisen.

The best education for a clever person is found in travel.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Attracting German-speakers to Australia

Germans love to travel the world. Around 160,000 visitors arrive from Germany in Australia each year, a significant market for Tourism Australia.

What attracts so many German tourists to Australia? What are they coming to see and do? How long do they stay? How old are they?

Research on these questions are published on the Tourism Australia website.

Marketing companies typically trade on stereotypes to attract tourists. They identify their markets and what would appeal to them, tailoring tours for particular profiles of the market. 

European tours are offering tours now such as summer bike-riding or leisure cruises along the river Danube, winter skiing trips or visits to traditional Christmas Markets.

Australian Students Traveling to Germany

Many students of German travel to German-speaking countries on exchanges, sister-schools and sometimes scholarships.  International travel fosters independence, personal growth and intercultural language skills.

Students from all areas of tertiary education travel to Germany on scholarships funded by the German government, as well as German students studying at Australian universities.

See Students: Scholarships and Exchanges and Why German for more information about scholarships and opportunities for German now and in the future.

Skills in communicating in German in Australia open doors to global opportunities and come in handy when negotiating daily life when you are in a German-speaking community overseas and in Australia. It

Travel and Tourism in German-speaking Europe

Tourism is an important industry and the extensive public transport system in German-speaking Europe is reliable and punctual, making travel both easy and affordable, especially if you speak German.

The concept of Jugendherberge (youth hostel) was the brainchild of a German teacher, Richard Shirmann. The first hostel opened in 1912. By the 1930s there were more than 2000 hostels in Germany. The idea soon spread throughout Europe and the world. 

National tourist branches provide comprehensive advice:

 Deutsche Welle

Advice for Travelers

Compare with how Australia presents itself to the World

Cultural Heritage

Communities keep what they treasure or want to remember to inform current and future generations.