Germany's Tourism Industry

As an industry, Germany's tourism has been active in the country since the 1800s. During this time, quite a few great German cities were part of what was known as the Grand Tour of Europe. Travellers mainly from Europe, but also from the colonies and far-flung empires of the world congregated on German cities to admire their cultural, artistic and scientific achievements. Germany has always been considered one of the most advanced nations in the world and today, the country is known as one of the safest places to travel in the world. Germany has a very strong infrastructure with a public transport network made up of roads, airways, rail-lines, subways, bus-routes, trolley- and tram-lines.

In recent years, Germany has been one of the European and international pioneers of alternate energy sources and as such has a very strong travel infrastructure which is inexpensive to maintain and serves tourists and locals extremely well.

German History and Culture

There have been Germanic people living in the area for several thousand years and the culture of Germany developed through interaction with Celts, Romans, Barbarian tribes, Scandinavians, Turks and a host of other cultures and societies for at least two-and-a-half thousand years. Germany's countryside and cities are therefore dotted with impressive feats of architecture that span several millennia and eras. Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque, Renaissance, Neoclassical and even Modern buildings are to be found everywhere and draw millions of tourists every year.

Tourism Statistics in Germany

Germany brings in some 370 million tourists every year or more, with most of them coming from the Netherlands, the United States and Switzerland. British tourists are the fourth-most likely to be found at any given time in Germany. Britons see Germany mainly for its cultural and historical sights and events.

The German tourist industry is worth €27 billion (£23.2 billion) per year, which is 3.2% of the nation's GNP.

The most popular tourist destinations in Germany are the cultural centres Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt and Munich. Many other minor cities draw in millions of tourists every year who come for a variety of reasons - gap year students working in the EU, university and college exchange students, day-trippers from other European countries, as well as international tourists who stay for extended vacations. Germany also has many theme parks, festivals, theatres and opera houses, which put on a variety of shows attracting millions of viewers every year.

Types of Holidays in Germany

Spa tours - Germany has been famous for its spas since Roman times. There are many bathing sites which were originally developed by ancient peoples. The countryside and some of the cities are home to hot springs, mineral springs, mud baths and other volcanic and geo-thermal features. Tourists from all over the world bathe in the waters and have been doing so for thousands of years. Most of the spas are located in the south along the Alps in Bavaria or along the Rhine River Valley.

Outdoor adventure tours - Many tourists come to Germany to enjoy outdoor activities and sports. In the winter, skiing and snowboarding are a favourite past-time, while mountaineering and hiking is an all-year hobby that attracts many adventurous travellers. There are many routes to explore in many regions around the country.

Thematic holidays - Germany is very keen on thematic holiday tours and companies offer many themed packages for tourists. These can help a visitor get to know Germany from a unique perspective. Some examples include memorial tours tracing the lives of famous historical figures such as Goethe or Nietzsche, agricultural and industrial revolution historical tours, fine dining and wine region tours, spa and bathing tours, festival tours, religious pilgrimages to Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Muslim holy sites which are hundreds of years old and historical time-period tours.

Winter sports - The country is also famous for a range of winter sports. Most ski resorts are located in the Alps in Bavaria or the German Uplands. The ski season is open from November to February. Another feature of the winter season in Germany is its traditional Christmas markets. During the Yuletide festival, tourists from all over the country and elsewhere congregate on small, German mountain towns where they can see winter traditions in abundance.

Summer events - Because Germany is one of the business, economy, culture and scientific powerhouses of the world, it is host to many festivals, trade shows, exhibitions and conferences, especially in the warm summer months. Tourists who come to these events are often treated to city tours that capture the history and culture of the location of their event.

As Germany is one of the leaders of the EEC and is a leader in technology and science, it is attracting many more tourists each year and it is predicted by experts that their tourist industry will continue to expand based on science and new technologies emerging in the 2020s.