Last updated: 01:00 PM ET, Wed July 15 2015

Germany Going Strong in 2015

Destination & Tourism | James Ruggia | July 15, 2015

Germany Going Strong in 2015

Things are so good in Germany when it comes to inbound visitors that they’ll be literally surfing in the Forum of the Munich Airport Center starting July 31. The world's biggest standing wave will keep breaking until Aug. 23. The wave will roll daily from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. as the turnstiles keep turning while German tourism continues to thrive.

Inbound tourism to Germany grew 4.2 percent in the first third of the year, with overnights by U.S. travelers growing by 6.2 percent year on year. Between January and April, nearly 20 million overnights were recorded by international visitors according to Germany’s Federal Statistical Office, which includes accommodations with 10 or more beds as well as camp grounds. That’s 800,000 more than in the same period the year. The numbers for the U.S. market were even better: A total of 1,282,893 overnights were recorded during this period by Americans, for a 6.2 percent year-on-year increase.

That growth by the U.S. made it Germany’s most important overseas source market. The 10 most important European markets for German inbound tourism remain almost unchanged: The Netherlands were tops with 2.2 million overnights through April. Switzerland grew 10.3 percent while Great Britain (6.7 percent), Italy (5.1 percent), Poland (4.6 percent) and Spain (8 percent) all grew as well.

A decline in the price of oil and economic sanctions for its adventurism in the Ukraine set Russian outbound travel back all over Europe, including a decrease of 31.6 percent to Germany.

Asian overnights reached 2.5 million, an increase of 12 percent in the first four months of 2015. China grew by 20.5 percent, totaling 617,000 overnights, followed by the Arab Gulf States (plus 12.8 percent to 445,000 overnights). Japan secured third place with 330,000 overnights.

South America is also an important source market for Destination Germany, with Brazil in first place for this region, generating an increase of 11.3 percent. The remaining South American countries grew by 13 percent in terms of their Germany incoming numbers.

In other news for Germany, Hamburg was confirmed as the country’s candidate for the 2024 Olympic Games. With 590,000 passenger arrivals in 2014, Hamburg has surpassed the ports of Rostock and Kiel and now firmly holds the number one spot as Germany’s top cruise destination.

Destination Germany entered the year on a high note as the National Brand Index ranked German tourism seventh based on a number of criteria and first in the category of history and culture, outstripping countries such as France and Italy. The annual survey of Germany’s top 100 tourism attractions tells you what most travelers, both German and international, enjoy about the destination. Number one is King Ludwig’s Neuschwanstein Castle and other top 10 attractions include Cologne Cathedral, Oktoberfest in Munich, Brandenberg Gate, the old town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Heidelberg Castle and the Berlin Wall. 

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