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Business

Cashing in on the Business of Fun

During an economic recession, there’s nothing better than a little pick-me-up to get the spirits soaring again, especially when it comes with lots of fun and partying like Carnival.

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Dancing to the tune of four billion euro during Carnival

In January and February when the weather is so bad that construction work stops and tourism slows down, Carnival picks up, adding a pretty penny to city coffers.

In the past few years, Carnival has developed into big business for the Rhine region around Cologne. Every year it pulls in about 4 billion euro, says Franz Wolf, President of the Association for German Carnivals, and up to 8,000 jobs are directly or indirectly related to the business of merry-making.

The foolish fifth season can no longer be ignored as an economic stimulus for the regional economy, Wolf says in a Focus interview published this week.

With an annual turnover of some 330 million euro and 4,000 jobs connected to the seasonal festivities, Cologne is the undisputed financial center of Carnival.

According to estimates by the Cologne Chamber of Commerce, one third of the city’s returns come directly from parades, balls and performances. Another good chunk comes from tourism and gastronomy. The sale of costumes, make up, and party accessories also indirectly contributes to the Carnival conjuncture.

On Rose Monday, February 11, Carnival reaches its financial highpoint. The Cologne Carnival Committee calculates that approximately 920,000 eruo will be spent on the parade, including the costs for wagons, music, costumes and 140 tons of candy.

Municipal leaders recognize the economic factor of Carnival and have begun marketing the foolish festivities in an effort to draw in even more money. Nationally broadcast parades and shows are one attempt, as are colorful internet sites, and specially produced music CDs.

The Cologne Chamber of Commerce says there’s still room for growth in the city’s tourist sector. Several hotels in Cologne have special offers for the five days between Women’s Carnival (Thursday) and Ash Wednesday, and many travel agencies are reporting an increase interest in the seasonal travel to Cologne.

After Cologne, Düsseldorf spends the next largest sum on Carnival, approximately 205 million euro.

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