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Tourists flock to Germany in 2011
Photo: DPA

Tourists flock to Germany in 2011

Published: 09 Feb 2012 17:06 GMT+01:00
Updated: 09 Feb 2012 17:06 GMT+01:00

Tourists spent a record number of nights in Germany last year, the country's statistics office said Thursday, with visitors from abroad registering a sharp increase despite gloomy economic conditions.

German hotels and guest houses recorded a total of 394.1 million overnight stays in 2011, compared to 380.3 million the previous year, the federal office of statistics said.

The number of overnight stays by tourists from abroad rose by six percent to 63.8 million, rising twice as fast as domestic visitors.

The Dutch and Swiss were the most frequent foreign visitors to Germany. Although the number of Spanish tourists increased last year, visits from other crisis-hit European countries such as Greece, Italy and Portugal decreased.

Germany cemented its position as the second most visited European country after Spain. Visits by Chinese, Indian and Brazilian tourists all saw double-digit gains.

However, overnight stays by domestic tourists far outweighed foreign visitors, with 330.3 million Germans choosing to stay in their home country.

AFP/DPA/The Local/mry

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

02:44 February 10, 2012 by Redwing
I am not at all surprised that Germany should be the second most visited European country. It has all: seasides with gorgeous beaches, mountains of all shapes and sizes, beautiful towns and cities, not to mention the varied countryside. On the whole the people are welcoming and friendly. It does not at all conform to the ideas many foreigners have of the country.
08:16 February 10, 2012 by wood artist
As a frequent visitor from the US, I'm often asked (at home) what's so special about Germany. It's funny to hear the responses, largely because some (most?) people think of Paris, London, or Rome as the "important cities" in Europe. When I speak of wandering the castles of the Rhein, or the Dom in Köln, or exploring the remnants of East Germany or the history within Berlin, they act like those are places they've never heard about. When I talk about what can be learned by visiting Weimar...or Buchenwald, they seem stunned.

Sadly, at least for too many Americans, Germany holds no "important" things to see. Then, when I add things like Bavaria, or the Romantic Road, or many other wonderful places, they suddenly wonder why they didn't "know that."

I honestly don't think it's a carry-over from WWII, but I can't explain it. Any military person who was stationed in Germany immediately says how much they enjoyed their time there...and the people. With few exceptions, I have always found Germans to be gracious hosts and wonderfully helpful guides. I'll keep coming back.

wa
08:28 February 10, 2012 by TFGumby
Good point, wood artist. I don't think its WW2 either, but when was the last time you saw an ad on TV or in print promoting Germany as a tourist destination? I'm from Ireland and I have never seen one on British or Irish TV.

Germany isn't promoted enough as a tourist destination. They are not reaching out to the masses.

If the country was better promoted as a tourist destination, maybe those old stereotypes might be forgotten.

TF.
10:13 February 10, 2012 by Johnne
@TFGumby

You are correct. Germany isn´t promoted enough as a tourist destination or friendly country. This is because sometimes, first impression last a long time. Many people don´t see this country that way because it is an obviousely welcoming country. And you need some level of mental freedom for "popularity" and that popularity automatically spread into the media and then the world will find the country very likable. Germany sometimes feels too difficult & too strict on everything...and people need freedom. I myself feel more welcomed in a country like Belgium for example especially Brussels. Multiculturism and diplomacy play big roles. Nobody likes a situation where Polizei check your ID, Bahn ticket, & Bahncard on a train just because you look "foreign" while coming from a free & multicultural No matter how beautiful your country a country looks. If you look at the figures, it shows that you have more EU-Schengen visitors than Non EU. I for example would rather take my family on a trip to Brussels, Dublin or even Glasgow or Edinburgh rather than Berlin even though 90% of my life is German. I love this country but diplomacy & Multiculturism are not well managed. That is the honest truth.
10:48 February 10, 2012 by Gaffers
I have to agree. In the UK people have no idea what Germany has to offer. Everyone who has visited Munich falls in love with the place and when you take them to the mountains they usually want to move here :-)
13:24 February 10, 2012 by mike_1983
whether people think it or not it still has something to do with WW2 and the stigma of germany constantly portrayed in hollywood films. i grew up in australia and i get the same response when saying I'm living in germany and really love cities like munich, berlin, towns like rothenburg and the amazing castles. most people still have negative images in their head when germany gets mentioned.
17:01 February 10, 2012 by kebaugm
I come from a German Lutheran/Mennonite Community of Manson, Iowa, with descendants from Ost Friesland and the Alsace. We were deprived of our German Heritiage because of two wars with Germany. But as I visit Germany, I still see remnants of our long lost culture that sitll exist in Iowa. In fact Germany is the most Americianized country in Europe sans the language, but you can find an English speaker everywhere one goes. I have met many friends there over the years, it is just like home to me. I am most enamered with the trains and S Bahns and the beautiful countryside of Bavaria and Baden Wurttenberg.

Ich Liebe Deutshland.

Kebaugm@aol.com
17:38 February 10, 2012 by sybil
I'm from Ireland and I've come to Germany every year for a holiday for the last 10 years. I've gone to various places but have found over the years that because we are a mixed race family the best places for us to go is Berlin and Munich as we have had some annoying situations elsewhere. Outside of Berlin and Munich I have found that there can be difficulties with multiculturalism more so than in those cities. I love to visit Berlin especially but we have noticed that even there in the last year the attitude has changed slightly towards visitors. We plan to return this year so I hope they are back to their usual selves.
23:06 February 10, 2012 by Runnerguy45
I talked to a German tourist in Utah last year and they asked why I had not visited Germany after finding out I have never been despite a German background, I had never thought of it, next summer I will be there and cant wait.
00:51 February 11, 2012 by kjello
Germany is great, I live in Berlin and loving it. Only problem: they work too long and too inefficient. Germans are in general (yes, generalizing a bit) a little thick-headed and do not show a great deal of flexibility and modernity in daily life. Having lived in NYC, Germans have much to learn from the NewYorkers way of running a company. Basically they both work a lot Germans and Americans, difference is Americans give you a much more rapid climb in the hierarchy if you work hard.
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