The volume of international travel to Germany reached a record high for the fifth year in a row in 2014, with a total of 75.6 million overnight stays. According to the German Federal Statistical Office, the number of overnight stays by visitors from abroad in accommodation establishments with ten or more beds went up by 3.7 million in the period from January to December, a year-on-year increase of 5.1 percent.
Petra Hedorfer, CEO of the German National Tourist Board (GNTB), said, “Once again we are able to look back on an outstanding set of results – our record in 2014 provides further evidence that Germany has arrived in the top tier of international travel destinations. Arrivals went up by 4.6 percent. This means we are comfortably above the comparable growth rate for Europe, which the UNWTO puts at 3.9 percent, and on a par with the global growth rate of 4.7 percent. The latest UNWTO forecasts suggest that the international travel market will expand by between 3 and 4 percent in 2015. We will build on last year’s strong performance and take a bigger than average cut of this growth. This will lay the perfect foundation for our long-term outlook of achieving 121.5 million international overnight stays a year by 2030, which we believe is a realistic objective.”
Europe continues to be the biggest player in inbound tourism to Germany, accounting for roughly 75 per cent of the market. Switzerland contributed the highest volume of absolute growth in 2014, with nearly 378,000 additional overnight stays bringing the total for the country up to 5.9 million. In second place came the UK, with a gain of almost 255,000 overnight stays compared with the previous year. UK travelers made a total of 5.2 million overnight stays in Germany in 2014. The third fastest growing market in Europe is Poland, which added 247,000 overnight stays. This brought Germany’s eastern neighbor up to a total volume of around 2.4 million overnight stays in 2014.
The Arab Gulf States are on a steep upward curve and hold the top position among the overseas markets in terms of absolute growth in overnight stays: an additional 318,000 overnight stays were generated last year by visitors from the Arab Gulf States, as part of a total volume of almost 1.9 million. In second place came China, which generated an additional 298,000 overnight stays in Germany, pushing it above the two million mark for the very first time.
The U.S., which remains the biggest overseas market for Destination Germany, continued to grow strongly, with its travelers making nearly 246,000 more overnight stays in Germany than the previous year, as part of a total volume of 5.2 million in 2014.
Forecast for 2030
The GNTB forecasts that tourism to Germany will continue to grow strongly over the coming years, with the current annual total of 67.8 million overnight stays by international visitors growing by nearly 80 percent to reach 121.5 million by the end of the next decade.
In the coming years Europe will remain the biggest source market for Destination Germany in global tourism, with anticipated average growth of 3.3 percent a year and a market share of around 73 percent in 2030. Strong growth rates and increases in market share are expected from the key emerging markets in Southeast Asia and South America and from the Middle East and Africa. The European source markets could generate a total of 37.3 million additional overnight stays – with potential for growth in all regions.
From the overseas markets, the GNTB believes that an increase of 16.1 million overnight stays is possible. This would increase their share of the incoming market from 23.1 percent to 26.2 percent. The highest increases in the number of overnight stays are expected from China (3.2 million), the Arab Gulf States (2.0 million) and the U.S. (1.9 million). From the BRIC countries there is potential for an additional 10.1 million international overnight stays by 2030.