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German tourism up again

It seems that British travellers are busily acquiring a taste for Europe’s economic powerhouse

It’s been another good year for German tourism. Figures to June show a rise in British visitors of 7.5 percent over 2012, and while a good proportion of that is undoubtedly due to the upturn in business travel and the European economy, 55 percent is still leisure travel, particularly city breaks (Berlin accounts for a whopping 22 percent of all overnight stays). Looking back further, the number of British overnights in Germany has increased by a massive 30 percent in the decade since 2003, whilst the likes of France and Spain have been largely static over the same period.

The numbers break down as follows: The most popular city is Berlin, with more than twice as many overnights (1,002,175) as the secondmost popular, Munich. After Munich comes Frankfurt and then Hamburg. Berlin also counts as the most popular federal state, with Bavaria hard on its heels, followed by North Rhine-Westphalia (Dusseldorf, Cologne and the Ruhr) and then by Hesse (Frankfurt and part of the Rhine valley). Germany also tops the worldwide league table when it comes to culture-related trips (ie classical concerts, opera festivals etc).

So why are British visitors picking up on Germany? The German tourist board ascribe some of the increase to the positive publicity emerging from the 2006 World Cup, staged in Germany. Positive leadership during the economic crisis has clearly helped, and Germany surprised everyone by emerging top in a ‘most popular country’ survey done by the BBC this year. Good air links have played their part, as have hotel prices which are considerably better value than elsewhere in Europe. For example the most expensive city in Germany, Munich, has an average price of €123, compared to the average in Paris of €256. And finally a small part of it has to be down to increased awareness of the range and diversity of what Germany has on offer, and a tiny part of the credit for that is due to websites like this one.

Next year’s themes the tourist board will be promoting are: 25 years since the Fall of the Wall (yes, it really is 25 years!), all the German UNESCO World Heritage sites, a big barrier-free travel initiative, and a celebration of 300 years since the first of the House of Hanover acceded to the British throne (being marked with the launch of the new Royal Heritage Route and website http://www.germany.travel/en/ms/royal-heritage/start/royal-heritage.html)

Onwards and upwards!

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