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Germanyís increasing popularity as a preferred travel destination

May 09, 2008

According to recently released statistics for 2007, ratings of Germany as a preferred travel destination have gone up. Despite the stronger euro, the German tourism industry has strengthened its business from overseas, boosted by increasing numbers of visitors from India and the Gulf states. Germany is also now the leader in business tourism, and is ranked second after USA as the best event destination.

With overall growth of three per cent in 2007, the German tourism industry has managed to exceed even the levels seen during the soccer World Cup year of 2006, according to statistics published by the German Federal Statistical Office. The strongest growth, of 3.5 per cent, was in the incoming sector.

Germany recorded growth in overnight stays from all of its neighbouring countries in 2007. For the first time it became the most popular travel destination for the Netherlands, its most important source market. According to the trend of visitors from abroad, there is increasing popularity of city destinations in Germany. Berlin leads with 6.6 million overnight stays, followed by Munich with 4.5 million.

In 2007, despite the euro gaining strongly against the US dollar, overnight stays from the US still managed an increase. The front-runner in the Asian growth markets was India, up by 33 per cent, followed by the Arab Gulf States (up 9 per cent), which have grown steadily for several years now. There were over 110,000 visitor arrivals and more than 377,000 overnight stays from India in 2007.

Top ranking from World Economic Forum / Switzerland 2008

According to the results of the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report (TTCR) – the first international study done on the travel and tourism industry as a locational factor by the World Economic Forum, Switzerland 2008 – out of 130 countries, Germany ranked third after Switzerland and Austria as having the most conducive environments for developing the travel and tourism industry. The report placed Germany as the market leader in infrastructure, especially road and rail transport as well as air travel. It ranks second for the spectrum of international trade fairs and exhibitions offered. The study examined a total of 71 variables that were crucial for the ranking. Germany achieved top-flight results in the categories of political legislation / rules, sustainable environmental regulations, health and hygiene, and overall with regard to the general conditions affecting travel and tourism.

Economic significance of business travel

In addition to a strong increase in holiday travel in 2007 – eight per cent from other European countries – the image of and demand for Germany as a business travel destination picked up and has improved constantly. In 2007 Germany became the market leader in business tourism, with an 11 percent market share of all international business trips worldwide, according to statistics released by the German National Tourist Board (GNTB) / IPK International. A total of roughly 625 million business trips resulted in a turnover of 66.7 billion euros, a 5.4 percent increase over 2006. “With a market share of 29 percent of all incoming trips to Germany, the business travel segment is a decisive locational advantage for global marketing of Germany as a travel destination”, remarked Petra Hedorfer, the CEO of the GNTB. Throughout Europe, Germany is regarded as the best event destination; worldwide it is ranked in second place behind the USA.

Projections for 2008

The German National Tourist Board (GNTB) expects the total volume of tourism in Germany to grow by two per cent in 2008 to over 365 million overnight stays. In 2008, the GNTB expects the largest increase to be in incoming travel from western and eastern Europe. Among the main growth drivers identified by market researchers are the ever-increasing amount of business travel, the excellent value for money offered by Germany and the growth in low-cost travel, which is driving demand in the city breaks and health & fitness segments.

Together, European countries account for more than 50 per cent of all worldwide travel. This is why Germany projects the largest number of overnight stays for 2015 – 51.3 million – from Europe. The GNTB's projections, based on figures from the German Federal Statistical Office, put the number of overnight stays by visitors from Asia, Australia and Africa at 6.5 million. China is also expected to overtake Japan as the most important source market in Asia with around two million overnight stays. Strong growth is also predicted in India, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates. The GNTB anticipates some eight million overnight stays by visitors from the Americas and Israel in 2015, of which around six million are expected from the US alone.

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