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Sustainable Tourism

The Corona pandemic has severely limited travel. Prior to this, the industry was growing steadily – including in the segment of eco-tourism.
© Czauderna

Germans like to travel. In their own country as well, indeed especially there. The Corona pandemic has strengthened this trend. For years now the Alps, the coasts, the North German lakes, nature reserves, and river valleys have headed the list of destinations. Germans have long since shared a passion for the diversity of the countryside, and for sightseeing, sport and relaxation options with guests from abroad. Before the pandemic, Germany was gaining popularity as a tourist destination year after year.

In 2019, the number of overnights rose to 495.6 million; guests from abroad accounted for 89.9 million, which was a record. The positive trend in tourism to Germany began immediately after German Reunification back in 1990 and has since led to a steady rise in the number of overnight stays by foreign guests – by around 88 percent. Most recently, a good 75 percent of all foreign guests came from Europe, primarily from the Netherlands, Switzerland, Great Britain, and Italy, while 7.5 percent came from the USA. At the same time the number of visitors from Asia and Africa was rising, although the Corona pandemic will bring a stop to this increase at least for the time being.

A successful trade fair location

The same goes for the trade fair industry: In 2019 Germany yet again maintained its position as the no. 1 conference and congress centre in Europe. In the international congress centre rankings, Germany is in second place behind the USA. Some 253,000 international exhibitors came to trade fairs Trade fairs With 150 international sector trade fairs Germany is an important international market for goods. Of the leading trade fairs for individual sectors worldwide some two thirds are held in Germany. The major trade fairs include the annual Hannover Messe, which is regarded as a showpiece of industry,… Read more › in Germany, and five of the world’s ten biggest trade show companies are based here. Germany’s share of the global trade fair market most recently amounted to almost ten percent.

Popular UNESCO World Heritage Sites

According to a survey conducted by the German National Tourist Board German National Tourist Board The German National Tourist Board is headquartered in Frankfurt/Main. Its six regional offices and 30 foreign representative bureaus and sales agencies, plan, coordinate and realize its international marketing and sales activities.→ Read more › , the top international visitor attractions include classics such as Neuschwanstein Castle and Cologne Cathedral. The numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites, among them Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam and Classical Weimar, are also popular.

Like culture, movement in general plays a big role in Germany’s appeal. Around 200,000 kilometres long, the network of hiking trails alone offers extremely good conditions and magnificent views, for example on routes through the national parks National parks To a large extent the 16 national parks in Germany are located in the north of the country. They are all noteworthy for their unique nature and landscape and serve to preserve the natural diversity of rare plants and animals. The largest is the Schleswig-Holstein Mud Flats National Park Wattenmeer,… Read more › or against the backdrop of the magnificent Alps. On top of this there are more than 200 well-established long-distance cycle trails covering tens of thousands of kilometres, for example the Iron Curtain Trail (1,131 kilometres) or the 818-kilometre-long German Limes Cycle Route. Those looking for a cheap night’s accommodation will find plenty of opportunities, for example in one of the 450 youth hostels, or on one of the approximately 3,000 campsites.

Feel-good holidays and environmentally friendly travel

Wellness is an important topic in Germany. It includes such unusual features as the river sauna in the Emser Therme thermal complex, as well as the numerous feel-good facilities in spa resorts such as Bad Wörishofen and Bad Oeynhausen, with its Wilhelminian-era architecture. In Germany, there are over 200 spa resorts, which use a label recognised by the “Deutscher Heilbäderverband”, the German Association of Spa Resorts. The quality of the medical treatment and support also attracts numerous guests to Germany.

Ever more frequently, travellers are not only taking care of their own wellbeing, but are also paying attention to the environment. In Germany, the demand for ecological tourism and sustainable travel is growing. Organic farms offer holiday rooms, there are 106 nature parks and 16 biosphere reserves, in which great importance is attached to sustainable development and biodiversity. In order for everyone to be able to move around easily in Germany, countless initiatives ensure that the disabled too can travel without hindrance.

Virtual travel during the Corona pandemic

The five federal states Federal states Germany is a federal state. Both the central federal government and the 16 federal states have independent areas of jurisdiction. The government in Berlin is responsible for foreign policy, European policy, defense, justice, employment, social affairs, tax and health. The federal states are… Read more › that formerly made up East Germany play a major role in tourism. After Reunification, tourism proved to be an opportunity for many regions in eastern Germany to put themselves on a sound economic footing. Areas of countryside such as the Spreewald biosphere reserve, cultural centres with long-standing trad­itions such as Dresden and Weimar, and Baltic seaside resorts such as Binz on the island of Rügen attract tourists from Germany and abroad. Since 1993, the number of overnight stays in eastern Germany has more than doubled.

The corona pandemic has severely restricted travel to Germany and also mobility within Germany. For this reason, the focus is shifting to opportunities for virtual exploration of the country. Many cities offer around 360-degree views of their sights or virtual tours. German museums, theatres and concert halls have also found innovative ways to give interested people insights from home.