Germany maintained its strong position in the competition with other European destinations in 2016. According to the latest analysis from IPK International’s World Travel Monitor, Germany is the second most popular travel destination for Europeans, with 53.6 million trips from Europe (up 3 per cent compared with the previous year).
Spain recorded 9 per cent growth and topped the rankings with 61.9 million trips. France remains in third place, despite a drop of 4 per cent to 37.6 million trips. Then come Italy (36.2 million trips) and Austria (27.4 million trips).
As Petra Hedorfer, Chief Executive Officer of the German National Tourist Board (GNTB), explains: “Destination Germany as a brand is excellently placed in the top tier of European travel destinations. Despite difficult conditions, we were able to maintain our top ranking as a destination for cultural travel and city breaks among European holidaymakers. We have created a target group-specific and market-specific brand communication based on sound market analysis and consistent customer focus. And with the systematic implementation of our digital strategy we are continuing to provide further growth stimulus to Germany’s inbound tourism industry.”
Travel patterns are changing
In 2016 tourism worldwide grew by 4 per cent to 1.1 billion arrivals, but IPK International identified a change to global travel patterns. The most buoyant source market, Asia, has experienced double-digit growth in outbound travel to intra-Asian destinations and a single-digit drop to the Americas.
At the same time IPK has recorded a stagnation in travel to Europe. Considering this development, Germany is well placed with an increase of 3 per cent. Of the 60.8 million trips to Germany, 53.6 million were made from Europe and 7.2 million from overseas.
Longer holidays and city breaks continue to drive growth
Holidays, with a 55 per cent share of the market, remain the biggest segment in travel from Europe to Germany. The number of holiday visits in 2016 saw a year-on-year increase of 3 per cent, reaching 29.7 million. A trend from previous years added to the momentum in 2016: the market for longer holidays of four or more nights grew by 6 per cent to 17.8 million.
At 11.9 million, the number of mini-breaks recorded was 2 per cent down on the previous year. The market for city breaks grew strongly in 2016, rising 23 per cent to 12.0 million.
The number of holiday trips from source markets outside Europe grew by 1 per cent to 4.4 million, while the business travel sector held steady at 2 million.
Germany is the leading destination for business travel
According to IPK / World Travel Monitor, the number of international business trips in Europe in 2016 fell by 1 per cent compared with the previous year to reach 63.3 million. In line with this trend, Germany’s business travel market also experienced a slight drop, from 12.8 to 12.7 million trips. Nevertheless, Germany was able to maintain its leading position as a business travel destination for Europeans despite difficult market conditions.
The traditional business travel sector registered a small drop of 2 per cent in 2016. In the promotable business travel segment 4 million conference/convention trips (up by 9 per cent) largely compensated for the poorer performance of the trade fair/exhibition segment (down 10 per cent to 2.3 million).
Digital technologies are changing booking habits
The tendency to research and book trips and tourist services through online channels continues to grow.
For example, the proportion of European holidaymakers in Germany who used the internet at some point in the planning of their trip rose again, by 5 percentage points, to reach 84 per cent. More than two thirds of them book tourist services online, while 14 per cent use the internet only for research.
88 per cent of holidaymakers in Germany from outside Europe used the internet to plan their trip, with almost four-fifths also making reservations online.
Economic importance of inbound travel increases
Europeans spent a total of €32.3 billion on trips to Germany in 2016. This represents an increase of 7 per cent on the previous year and includes all expenditure for transport, accommodation, food and shopping while staying in Germany, as well as travel to, from and within Germany. Travellers from overseas increased their spending again, by 9 per cent, to a total of €20.2 billion.