According to figures from the Federal Statistical Office, the number of overnight stays by visitors from abroad in accommodation establishments with at least ten beds came to 7.2 million in June 2016, 0.6 per cent less than the same month last year. Overall, the number of overnight stays by international guests rose to 35.5 million in the first half of 2016, a 3.3 per cent increase on the prior-year period.
“These are very respectable figures,” said Iris Gleicke, the German government’s Commissioner for Tourism and the Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.
Germany’s major cities are particularly popular with visitors from other countries. “But our rural regions have much to offer too in the way of culture,” added Gleicke.
She also stressed that the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is supporting the positive trend in inbound tourism in these regions by funding projects such as ‘The Destination as the stage: how does cultural tourism bring success to rural areas?’ and ‘Travel for All’, which is concerned with creating a nationwide certification system for accessible tourism.
Petra Hedorfer, Chief Executive Officer of the German National Tourist Board (GNTB), explains the trends that are revealed by the latest tourism statistics: “Despite the difficult economic conditions, Germany fared well as a travel destination in the first half of 2016 compared with other countries. We are having to contend with uncertainty in a number of areas, such as the overall security situation in Europe, concern about attacks and acts of violence, political instability in certain regions and the state of the global economy.”
The source markets present a mixed picture
After having delivered continuous growth for a number of years, the ten biggest European source markets for inbound travel to Germany have experienced sharp fluctuations in tourist numbers since the beginning of the year. This is reflected in the monthly statistics for overnight stays, which have alternated between extremely strong growth and significant drops in numbers.
We are seeing considerable variation in inbound tourism from the overseas markets as well. Monthly growth rates from the USA, Germany’s largest intercontinental source country, have been as low as 0.5 per cent and as high as 16.4 per cent. China has fluctuated between plus 20.4 per cent and minus 2.1 per cent. The high-potential emerging markets have seen a sharp decline in outbound tourism as a result of the financial crisis. Brazil was down 19.8 per cent in the first six months of 2016. The rate of growth in India fell to 3.9 per cent.
GNTB theme-based marketing drives inbound tourism to Germany
The GNTB continually runs theme-based marketing campaigns to promote Germany as an attractive travel destination and increase visitor numbers. Every year, new campaigns focus on particular facets of the core Destination Germany brand. Anniversaries and major events provide additional opportunities to enhance the brand’s profile. The GNTB also runs ongoing campaigns that focus on core basic themes such as culture and active pursuits.
Since the start of the Luther Decade in 2008, the GNTB has been promoting additional aspects of cultural tourism that tie in with the Luther theme. Next year’s theme-based campaign will be Luther 2017 – 500 years since the Reformation in Germany. By using the symbolic figure of Martin Luther as an ambassador, the GNTB will present a modern image of Germany to people all over the world, and will focus on online marketing and social media activities.