June 14, 2017

Germans love to travel so much, they even invented a word for it…

(Click here if you would like to read a German version of this post)

If I asked you to guess which country sends the most tourists abroad you might plump for the USA (pop. 326m), or maybe China (pop.1.4bn). The correct answer however, would be Germany (pop. a mere 80.6m)….ok, I suppose the headline gave it away a bit.

Much of this is cultural, for many Germans holidays are a 100% non-negotiable right whatever the financial climate. Four-fifths defiantly refuse to cut back on the length of their holidays to save money and two-thirds insist they are not prepared to save money by cutting back on their holiday spend

Furthermore, with the number of low-cost flights from Germany higher than ever and competition between low-cost airlines in Europe pushing prices down, Germans will be going abroad in unprecedented numbers this summer.

Per capita, Germans spend five times more on international travel than the Chinese

A record 23.5m air passengers have already boarded planes in Germany over the first three months of 2017 and, according to research from Handelsblatt, not only are they globe-trotting more, they are spending more as well. On average Germans spent €983 ($1,092) on holidays last year, compared to €792 ($879) in 2000. In fact, other than China and the USA, Germans spend more on foreign travel than any other nation – almost €72bn per year. Not only that, but on a per capita basis Germans spend 2.5 times more travelling abroad than Americans and a staggering five times more than the Chinese.

Spain remains the favoured holiday destination for German tourists, with 3.6m visiting last summer. In fact they love it so much that many visitors have decided to purchase property there: Builders, Taylor Wimpey España, recently reported that their sales of houses to Germans rose by 40% last year, with 93% of those sales in Mallorca alone (I feel duty-bound here to point out that last year 8 out of 10 German arrivals in Mallorca flew in on an Ink airline, whether that was Eurowings, TUI, airberlin, or easyJet).

But never mind the Balearics, other countries feel the benefit too: German tourists are the biggest spenders in Italy, splashing out €5.7bn in 2016. More tourists come to Ireland from Germany than any other country on mainland Europe. German tourist demand for Greece has increased by 70% compared to last year. Booking figures for Bulgaria and Croatia have also risen by a third, while Cyprus and Morocco are also seeing strong interest.

The impact of German tourism is felt across the pond too. Every year, two million Germans holiday in the United States, the country’s sixth-largest source market – not surprising when you consider that German-Americans are America’s largest single ethnic group. According to Census data, 46m Americans claim German ancestry: more than the number who can trace their roots to Ireland (33m) or England (25m). Who do you think founded Boeing, Pfizer, Steinway, Levi Strauss and Heinz? Or introduced pretzels, hot dogs, bratwursts and sauerkraut to the American diet?

This goes some way to explaining the German carriers’ ongoing trans-Atlantic expansion, with airberlin launching a new service from Berlin to Los Angeles and Eurowings announcing a new service to Las Vegas (unsurprising really, considering that Germany is Sin City’s largest source of international visitors from continental Europe).

Germany isn’t doing too shabbily on the domestic front either, just recently the German National Tourist Board announced it is celebrating 7 years of consecutive tourism growth, while the Meeting & Event Barometer revealed that the number of MICE visitors to Germany has doubled since 2006. So it goes to show that those planes are busy in both directions!

With no World Cup or Euros to win this summer, it looks like Germany will end up as tourist champions!

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