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Bars and restaurants pin profit hopes on World Cup

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Bars and restaurants pin profit hopes on World Cup
German fans down beers at the 2006 World Cup. Photo: DPA
15:19 CEST+02:00
The German hospitality industry has suffered due to a long winter and chilly spring this year, but hotel and restaurant owners hope the upcoming football World Cup will get customers off their couches and out spending again.

“Wintry temperatures kept the outdoor terraces and beer gardens on holiday weekends like Easter, the Feast of the Ascension and Pentecost closed,” said hotel and gastronomy association Dehoga president Ernst Fischer in a statement, calling the spring's gloomy weather a “catastrophe.”

But when the whistle blows on June 11 to begin the World Cup in South Africa, the financial situation at German bars and restaurants should improve quickly, Dehoga said in Berlin on Tuesday.

During football tournaments Germans often go out to watch matches in public at beer gardens, restaurants and bars, guzzling up beer and downing snacks amid the action on the pitch.

Industry earnings for the year so far have been stagnant, but the football fever to come has proprietors feeling optimistic compared to this time last year, said the organisation, which represents more than 240,000 businesses in the hospitality industry.

A poll of some 4,000 such businesses found that almost one third were optimistic that turnover would increase this summer, compared to just 18.2 percent in the wake of the financial crisis last year.

Consumer researcher Klaus Wübbenhorst said on Tuesday that the entire German economy would indeed benefit from the World Cup excitement.

“I am strongly convinced that the World Cup will be another little stimulus programme,” he told daily Die Welt. “The businesses will do more advertising. And the customers will buy flat-screen televisions, radios, jerseys and World Cup accessories. We'll notice it in the consumption numbers.”

While extra sales won't be quite as impressive as those in 2006, when Germany hosted the World Cup, South Africa is still a favourable location for the event, he said.

“We have no time difference, which is good for public viewing and therefore gastronomy,” he told the paper. “The more successful the team is and the nicer the summer is, the more the domestic economy profits.”

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