Last updated: 12:00 PM ET, Tue March 15 2016

Germany Reaches Record Tourism Numbers

Destination & Tourism | Janeen Christoff | March 15, 2016

Germany Reaches Record Tourism Numbers

PHOTO: Munich (Photo courtesy Thinkstock)

It has been a banner year for tourism and the records just keep rolling in. For six years in a row, Germany has welcomed record numbers of international visitors. Last year, there were more than 79 million overnight stays from foreign guests. An additional 4.1 million people visited the country in comparison to 2104, an increase of 5.4 percent. U.S. visitors increased 8.5 percent, totaling 5.6 million overnight visits in Germany – the most ever.

“The balance sheet for 2015 exceeds our own expectations and the predictions of the UNWTO, which had anticipated a worldwide growth of three to four percent for international tourism,” Petra Hedorfer, CEO of the German National Tourist Board (GNTB). “Even compared to the other big European destinations, Germany is scoring as a growth generator.”

While the majority of the country’s visitors are from within the EU, Germany saw significant growth rankings in overseas markets such as China and the U.S.

READ MORE: Southwest Germany in Bloom

The U.S., in particular, is the third most important source market for Germany when it comes to tourism, and is currently the largest overseas market. However, the Chinese market is one of the country’s fastest-growing markets. China had 505,000 more overnights compared to the previous year. The U.S. increased by 439,000 visitors. And the Arab Gulf States increased by 330,000 visitors.

Countries in Europe represent about 73 percent of all international stays in Germany with nine out of 10 top source markets located there. Leading the way are the Netherlands and Switzerland.

Germany also scored highly in an independent benchmark report by European Cities Marketing. The group measured the total bed nights in the region’s most popular cities, and among the top 10 European cities, Berlin and Munich were third and nine.

READ MORE: Germany’s Fairytale Castles: Planning a Dream Trip for Your Child

There is cautious optimism for tourism growth in Germany. In terms of the future, the GNTB report highlighted that there are a range of uncertainties, including security concerns, the refugee situation and economic factors that could weigh down visitor numbers in the country. However, it predicts a growth rate of 1 to 3 percent.

This year, the country is focusing marketing efforts on its national parks and nature vacations within the country. More than one-third of the country consists of protected natural sites, and promoting and protecting natural sites is a priority for the GNTB, which aims to position Germany as a destination dedicated to sustainable travel. There is currently an online campaign highlighting the country’s natural elements and that promotes the diversity of its natural landscapes. 

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