Germany may not have won the World Cup in 2006, but it was a ‘world champion’ in terms of tourism growth, with a 10 per cent increase in the number of arrivals and overnight stays.
With more than 4.7 million additional overnight stays by international visitors, ‘Destination Germany’ is growing twice as fast as average worldwide arrivals (4.5 per cent) and the European average (3.9 per cent).
Visitors from the Gulf states increased 2.6 per cent.
“We are delighted that German destinations have increased their share of the fiercely competitive international tourism market. This shows that the boost given by the World Cup to Germany's image as a travel destination has already started to have an effect in the past few months,” said Petra Hedorfer, chief executive officer of the German National Tourist Board (GNTB).
Receipts from incoming tourism alone increased by over 12 per cent to 26.2 billion euros ($35.6 billion) in 2006, turning travel to Germany into an important export product and a powerful driving force for the economy.
There has also been particularly strong growth in the demand for business trips to Germany from Europe. According to the latest analysis by the GNTB and IPK International, this sector recorded a 17 per cent increase to a total of 9.7 million in 2006. ‘Promotable’ business travel, i.e. trips to trade fairs, conferences, meetings and incentive travel, now has a 46 per cent share of the market for traditional business-oriented travel. And the importance of this sector continued to grow last year with a 13 per cent increase in the number of trips.
The GNTB also reported growth in holiday travel to Germany. The number of mini-breaks was up by eleven per cent, while the number of longer holidays rose by three per cent – an overall increase of six per cent. City breaks continue to be a significant factor in terms of the international mini-break segment. Major cities benefited particularly strongly: towns and cities with a population of more than 100,000 recorded a 12.7 per cent increase in the number of overnight stays by international visitors.
Berlin came in first place with just under six million overnight stays by international visitors in 2006, followed by Munich with 4.2 million and Frankfurt am Main with 2.5 million.
The most popular destinations for international visitors to Germany in 2006 as a whole were Bavaria with more than 12 million overnight stays.