The huge variety of reasons to visit Germany, including value for money, is continuing to attract increasing numbers of Irish visitors, up 10.8% in 1Q2016 on top of a 13% increase in 2015 and 22.3% in 2014, who also registered the second highest average camping overnight stays after Croatia.
At last week’s GTM 2016 held in Magdeburg, capital of Saxony-Anhalt – where an architectural highlight (above) is the Green Citadel, the last project by Friedensreich Hundertwasser and completed in 2005 – Petra Hedorfer, Chief Executive, German National Tourist Board, told media delegates: “Inbound tourism to Germany reached almost 79.7 million overnight stays in 2015 – up 5.4% and a record result for the sixth year running. This exceeded our own expectations and also the UNWTO global forecasts of 3-4%.
“We are expecting the upward trend to continue this year (January/February brought a 6% increase in overnight stays by international guests) but because of various elements of uncertainty – including the security situation in Europe and around the world, the difficult conditions in parts of the global economy and the refugee crises – our forecast is for a slightly slower growth rate of around 1-3%.
Germany has been investing heavily in barrier-free infrastructure in recent years and the GNTB has been promoting this strongly. In response to a question from Irish Travel Trade News, Petra Hedorfer said: “We regard barrier-free as an important factor: there are six million people in Europe who are able to travel but who have disabilities and, of course, barrier-free infrastructure also improves the visitor experience for the elderly, the temporarily infirm, children in pushchairs, and so on. We are seeing more and more demand and we estimate that 0.5-1.0% of our growth in international overnight stays is attributable to Germany’s barrier-free environment.”
Germany’s overall international tourism performance was helped significantly by Irish visitors, with overnight stays (including camping) increasing by 13.0% in 2015 to 435,494. Klaus Lohmann, Director of GNTB’s London office, told ITTN: “Irish visitors stayed an average of 7.3 nights, which is quite high and shows that many are now coming to Germany for long holidays, as well as for city breaks and business trips. While business trips account for 17% of Irish visitors – compared with an overall level of 9% – some 72% come for leisure and 11% for visiting friends and relatives. Irish visitors spend an average of €121 per day, or €880 in total.
“Camping (along with walking, hiking and cycling) is popular among Irish holidaymakers, who account for some 13,000 overnight stays each year. Indeed, the average camping stay is 3.6 nights, which is second only to Croatia at 4.8 and significantly above the international average of 2.8 and the UK figure of 2.7.
“It is perhaps no accident that the country’s name is GerMANY, as we have so many diverse attractions and reasons to visit, including our landscapes and UNESCO World Heritage Sites, castles and cities, cultural events, river cruises, Formula 1, great soccer teams, over 2,000 Christmas markets, etc etc.”
The 2017 Germany Travel Mart will be held in Nuremburg.