The figure for inbound tourism to Germany reached almost 79.7 million overnight stays in 2015 – a record result for the sixth year running. According to the German Federal Statistical Office, the number of overnight stays by visitors from abroad in accommodation establishments with at least ten beds went up by 4.1 million year on year in the period from January to December, an increase of 5.4 per cent. And the upward trend has continued this year: in only the first two months of 2016 there has already been an increase of 6 per cent in the volume of overnight stays by international guests.
“The figures for 2015 exceed our own expectations and the UNWTO forecasts, which assumed a global increase in tourism traffic of around 3 to 4 per cent,” says Petra Hedorfer, Chief Executive Officer of the GNTB. “Germany is proving to be an engine of growth, even in comparison to those countries in Europe that have traditionally been major tourist destinations. We are expecting the upward trend to continue in 2016. However, 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 crisis – our forecast is for a slightly slower growth rate of around 1 to 3 per cent.”
Europe remains the main source region in 2015
European countries account for 73.4 per cent of all overnight stays in Germany by foreign visitors, and these markets also made the greatest contribution to the strong growth in 2015, with an increase of 2.1 million overnight stays or 50 per cent of absolute growth. Of the countries that helped to drive growth in inbound travel to Germany, Spain tops the rankings with 517,000 additional overnight stays, followed by Switzerland (up by 492,000), the UK (up by 382,000) and the Netherlands (up by 176,000).
Nine of the top ten source markets for inbound tourism to Germany are in Europe. The Netherlands still lead the way in terms of visitor numbers, with 11.2 million overnight stays (up by 1.6 per cent). In second place is Switzerland, with 6.4 million overnight stays (up by 8.4 per cent).
High rates of growth were also recorded from the UK, which generated 7.4 per cent more overnight stays than in 2014 and remained in fourth place on the list of countries accounting for the highest numbers of visitors, just behind the USA. Behind the UK came Italy, Austria, Denmark, France and Belgium with growth of between 1.3 and 5.0 per cent. The highest growth among European markets in 2015 was achieved by Spain (up by 24.2 per cent to 2.7 million overnight stays), which moved back up into the top ten.
Dynamic growth from the overseas markets continues in 2015
China tops the ranking of high-growth overseas markets with 505,000 more overnight stays than in the previous year, followed by the USA with an increase of 439,000 overnight stays, and then the Arab Gulf States (up by 330,000).
The USA, the third-biggest source market for Destination Germany, and still the biggest overseas market, continues to exhibit dynamic growth, contributing a total of 5.6 million overnight stays (an increase of 8.5 per cent) to Germany’s inbound tourism industry in 2015. China’s total of 2.5 million overnight stays (an increase of 24.8 per cent) takes it very close to becoming one of the top ten markets for Germany.
The Arab Gulf States are also continuing their upward trajectory, passing the two million mark for the first time with an increase of 17.7 per cent. Overall, the overseas markets generated above-average growth of 10.8 per cent and a total of 19.7 million overnight stays in 2015.