IN NUMBERS: How important are American tourists to Germany?

The news that American tourists will not be allowed back into Germany once the EU begins opening its borders on July 1st will be a blow to many travellers - but what does it mean for Germany's tourism industry?

IN NUMBERS: How important are American tourists to Germany?
Archive photo shows tourists to the famous Neuschwanstein castle in Bavaria. Photo: DPA

The EU will reopen its external borders on July 1st to visitors from 14 countries. American tourists, however, will still not be allowed to travel to Europe because the US is still considered a risk due to the high number of Covid-19 cases.

The ban will likely take a toll on tourism, as a large amount of it comes from Americans – not to mention other countries on the current travel ban list. For outbound travel, Germany has an international travel warning in place until August 31st.

We give an overview of Germany's tourism industry in statistics, and the contribution that Americans make to it.

37 million

Tourists from all around the world who come to Germany each year.

Three million

Jobs are supported by tourism of all kinds in Germany, according to Germany’s Economic Ministry, meaning that it makes up 6.8 percent of total employment. 

358.3 billion

That’s the total amount that travel and tourism contributed to Germany’s GDP in 2018 in euros, including jobs for manufacturing and supplying tourism-related products and equipment.

READ ALSO: Germany experiences tourism boom as country welcomes more tourists than ever


Germany is the fourth most popular European destination for American tourists, trailing behind the UK, France and Italy, but ahead of Spain.

Graph prepared for The Local by Statista.


From 2018-2019, Americans were the third largest group of international visitors to Germany. The Dutch topped the number of overnight stays, followed by the Swiss, according to Statista

2.2 million

American tourists visit Germany each year, according to the latest data from Statista.


For many Americans, a short trip to Germany is not enough. According to the latest data from Germany’s statistics office, there are 120,000 Americans living in Germany, excluding the 50,000 military personnel scattered around the country.

It comes as no surprise that Berlin is the city that boasts the largest population of American expats, or 19,825. The wealthy southern state of Bavaria boasts 24,895 Americans, making it the Bundesland with the most Amis. Neighbouring Baden-Württemberg is the third most American-rich state, counting 17,215 among its population.

Berlin is the most popular city

According to Statista, the German capital is not surprisingly the most popular city for international visitors, followed by Munich, Hamburg and Frankfurt, with the numbers growing steadily every year.

Graph prepared for The Local by Statista.

READ ALSO: Where can you travel in Europe? EU launches new website to help tourists choose a safe holiday spot


The exchange of travellers between Germany and the US goes both ways: In 2018, Germans comprised the eighth largest group of travellers to the US, registering 2.08 million overnight stays.


The average budget for an American on a trip to Europe is $1,978 (€1,749) of which 27 percent is for accommodation (hotels in 63 percent of cases), 20 percent for the flight, and 17 percent for food and beverages.


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Is Leipzig really Germany’s ‘ultimate travel destination’?

The Saxonian city of Leipzig has been named by traveller’s bible Lonely Planet as its “ultimate” travel tip for Germany. Does the Local Germany’s knowledgeable readership agree?

The city centre of Leipzig.
The city centre of Leipzig. Photo: Jan Woitas/dpa-Zentralbild

Long a cult favourite among Germany fans, the left-wing city of Leipzig appears to now be gaining mainstream recognition after the Lonely Planet crowned it the country’s top travel destination this week.

In a new book titled “Ultimate German Travel Destinations – the top 250”, the travel publisher put Leipzig ahead of picturesque getaways such as Lake Constance and the Zugspitze as its number one destination.

“The hype that some say surrounds the city isn’t hype t all: Leipzig really is hipper than Berlin, and hotter than Munich, especially among millennials,” the guidebook boldly claims.

It goes on to lavish praise on the city of 600,000 inhabitants as “young, exciting, multifaceted – sometimes colourful, sometimes grey – and with a vibrant liveliness.”

“Everyone wants to go to the city where the anti-GDR demonstrations started,” the guidebook continues. “It is the home of Auerbachs Keller (made famous by Goethe and Faust); it’s the city of street art and wave gothic festivals; and its artistic scene at the Baumwollspinnerei is second to none.”

READ ALSO: A love letter to the eastern German city of Leipzig

‘Not cooler than Berlin’

Reaction to the list among the Local’s readership was mixed.

“It is a beautiful city and it’s easy to navigate. I find it hard to say that it’s cooler than Berlin, though. Berlin simply has more,” one reader told us on Facebook. “It’s the kind of place where people find their ‘spot.” I think most people in Leipzig know about most places in Leipzig. It’s a much smaller city. That may just be a more favourable lifestyle for some.”

Praise for Saxony’s biggest city ranged from admiration for the beauty of its architecture (particularly its train station) to the vibrancy of its arts scene.

Others suggested that Leipzig is indeed overhyped and that it can’t compete with natural wonders such as the pristine Königssee in the Bavarian Alps.

Lake Constance wins silver

Lake Constance, the country’s largest body of fresh water, came in second on the list.

The authors praised the southern See, which borders Switzerland and Austria, for “the many beautiful spots on its shores: Lindau, Meersburg, Überlingen, Constance and more – often surrounded by lush orchards.”

A regatta on the Bodensee in September 2021. Photo: dpa | Felix Kästle 

Hamburg’s new Elbphilharmonie concert hall came in third. 

“It’s impossible to imagine the Hanseatic city’s skyline without this glass work of art, which soars into the sky above the harbour like a frozen wave,” the book notes.

Also in the top ten were the Wattenmeer, which is a huge nature reserve on the North Sea coast, Berlin’s museum island, the sandstone hills of Saxony, and Germany’s highest peak, the Zugspitze in Bavaria.