Tough Year for German Tourism

Press Release
German National Tourist Board looks at 2021 as a transition year for incoming tourism
Incoming for 2020 as expected with strong losses compared to previous year – further growing readiness to travel opens up chances for first recovery approaches for 2021
Toronto, March 8, 2020 – 2021 will be a transition year for German incoming tourism due to the Covid-19 pandemic. A gradual recovery of international demand is likely to occur from 2021. The German National Tourist Board (GNTB) forecasts this on the basis of currently available figures for 2020 and the analyses of different market research institutes.

Petra Hedorfer, Chairwoman of the Executive Board for the German National Tourist Board (GNTB): “The Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting halt for many parts of worldwide tourism are mirrored in the results of German incoming tourism for 2020. At the same time, international research confirms the radiance of the Destination Germany brand and an increasing readiness to travel of international guests. The stakeholders of the German tourism industry faced the challenges of the crisis during the lockdown phases: Across the board of the customer journey, many processes were digitalized and extensive hygiene concepts were developed. Touristic offers were adjusted to the changing needs of the customer. This will lay the ground for the recovery phase.”

Incoming results 2020: Loss in overnights
As expected, German incoming tourism suffered substantial losses in 2020. According to preliminary data of the Federal Statistical Office, 32 million overnights by foreign visitors were recorded for tourist accommodations with more than ten beds and campsites, a loss of 64.4 percent compared to the previous year.

Perspective for 2021: Gradual recovery for international demand
The European Travel Commission is seeing a continuously growing readiness to travel for the coming months in its ‘Monitoring Sentiment for Domestic and Intra-European Travel‘. With the fourth survey wave at the beginning of December, 52 percent of all surveyed Europeans stated that they want to travel in the next six months, five percent more than with the third survey wave at the beginning of November. With the third survey wave, 27 percent of the surveyed had intentions to travel within April to June 2021, this increased to 32 percent with the following fourth (most recent) survey wave.

This scenario is confirmed through the forecast of the International Air Transport Association IATA. Their experts assume that the airlines’ sales worldwide after a decrease of 61 percent to 328 billion dollars in 2019/20 could increase by 40 percent to 459 billion dollars for 2021.

Petra Hedorfer: “Despite ongoing lockdown phases and travel restrictions, there are reasons for cautious optimism. With the experiences of the previous year, we anticipate a recovery of travel from Germany and Europe especially in the summer months. Incoming tourism from overseas markets will probably recover a bit slower. We also assume that leisure travel is coming back faster than business travel – the business travel segment will be enhanced by hybrid formats in the medium term and shaped by virtual events. Based on these developments, the pre-crisis level of German incoming can be reached again by 2024. The prerequisite for market recovery still are the digital transformation, innovations and a sustainable direction for Germany tourism.”
About the GNTBThe German National Tourist Board (GNTB) has its headquarters in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. It works on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) to represent Germany as a tourist destination and is funded by the Ministry in accordance with a decision taken by the German Bundestag. The GNTB develops and communicates strategies and products to promote Germany’s positive image abroad as a tourist destination and to encourage tourists to visit the country. It has 27 agencies around the world to support its activities in over 40 markets worldwide. More information can be found in our online press centre at

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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