As 2015 draws to a close, Germany once again reports impressive tourism growth. Leisure travel visits have increased by over seven percent for the past two years in a row.
Tourism officials are looking to continue the trend. They’re emphasizing themed travel and big anniversaries in the coming year.
“Germany has so much to offer visitors in 2016. We will be highlighting the country’s natural wonders. Germany has 104 nature parks, 15 national parks and 15 UNESCO biosphere reserves. We will also be celebrating many important milestones,“ Ricarda Lindner, regional manager the Americas at the German National Tourist Office, tells Travel Agent.
Those important milestones include the 500th anniversary of the German Beer Purity Law. On the books since 1516, it’s said to be the world’s oldest food regulation. It decreed that only water, barley and hops could be used to produce beer.
Half a millennium later, the law’s longevity is cause for celebration. Some 100 breweries will take part in special festivities in central Munich in July. Visitors will learn about the brewing process, brewery history and have the chance to try an array of beers.
Elsewhere in Germany, Heidelberg is positioning itself as the 2016 festival town. Dance, theater and music offerings include a cabaret and comedy festival, jazz fest and the famous Schlossfestspiele or Castle Festival. The lineup of events begins in January with the Dance Biennial and String Quartet Festival.
Dresden will also focus on festivals in 2016. The city is celebrating the 800th anniversary of the Dresden Kreuz Choir. The acclaimed boys’ choir of Dresden’s Kreuzkirche (Church of the Holy Cross) will perform a number of special concerts. And a Festival Week is scheduled from April 15 to 24, 2016 to mark the big anniversary.
Also marking a major anniversary is the Bad Dürkheim Wurstmarkt. Though the name means “sausage market,” it’s actually the world’s largest wine festival. It’s held on the second and third weekend of September in Bad Dürkheim, on the German Wine Route in the Rhineland-Palatinate.
The festival takes place in the center of town, beside the world’s largest wine barrel, the Giant Cask. The barrel holds no wine, but it does house a restaurant. The festival features fairground-like grounds, foods and booths. On a typical year, it attracts over 600,000 visitors. The numbers for 2016 are expected to be even larger, as the event celebrates its 600th anniversary.
In addition to traditional beer and wines, gourmet cuisine continues to entice visitors. That’s especially true in Berlin. The city’s restaurants received a record 26 Michelin Stars in the 2016 edition of the guide.
“Berlin is becoming a major foodie destination. A score of young, talented and creative chefs are reinterpreting German cuisine while putting an emphasis on seasonal and regional produce. Also, Berlin has developed into Europe’s vegan capital, and boasts a notable street food scene,” Kirsten Schmidt, U.S. representative for visitBerlin, tells Travel Agent.
Increased airlift for 2016 makes Germany even more appealing.
Beginning next spring, Lufthansa will commence new service to Frankfurt from San Jose, CA. Also launching next spring are new flights from Denver to Munich and from Boston, San Francisco and Dallas Fort Worth to Dusseldorf.
Delta also plans to offer new service to Munich from Detroit.