Germany scores as a travel destination

Petra Hedorfer, the CEO of the German National Tourist Board, used a sports analogy to showcase how well the country is performing as a top travel destination.

“We’re playing in the Champions League of tourism destinations,” she told delegates on location in Chemnitz for the 50th Germany Travel Mart.

Speaking of soccer, Germany is set to host the UEFA Euro 2024, kicking off in Berlin on June 14. A real time survey of its top source markets found that 92% of respondents attending are not just coming to see a match but are also planning on staying in Germany for a longer period of time.

“We will also score some goals as a travel destination,” she said.

Strong recovery

Tourism officials anticipate that 2024 is the year overnight stays by visitors from abroad recover fully to 2019 levels. Notably, January-February figures showcase an 89% recovery rate.

Although it hasn’t yet been a complete recovery, travellers are spending more while in destination. For example, while 2019 saw 90 million overnights with a revenue of €66 billion, 2023 saw 80.9 million overnight stays spending €70.3 billion.

The Canadian market in particular is showing resilience and growth with increasing interest in diverse travel experiences, says Anja Brokjans, director of the German National Tourist Office in Canada.

“Canada’s affinity for Germany is on a remarkable upswing with a staggering 32.6% increase in Canadian overnight stays reported in 2023,” Brokjans tells PressToday. “The recovery rate for overnight from 2023 to 2019 stands at an impressive 87.7%.”

Canadian rebound

Notably, Germany is the fourth most popular destination for Canadian travellers.

“Germany has risen to become a popular destination for Canadian travellers, ranking fourth after France, Italy, and the United Kingdom,” she says.

The Canadian tour operator delegation includes Michael Holden, EF Educational Tours; Marie-Eve Derouin, EXOTIK; Vincent Veerasuntharam, Connaissance Travel and Tours and Harry Goetschi, Tours Chanteclerc Inc.

“We have a significant Canadian presence with four tour operators and five journalists from coast to coast aiming to discover unique experiences and foster partnerships,” she adds.

In attendance for the first time, Derouin is already planning on returning next year and has several group trips in the works for 2025.

“It’s so important to be here in person because I learned a lot about many regions and about what Germany has to offer. I connected with over 25 partners during corporate meetings at the trade show as well as made connections during the evening events, which is so important too. It’s all part of it,” Derouin says. “I think I am going to come back next year! We are really planning to do more Germany [tours].”