One of the world's largest fairs for holiday destinations, the ITB, has opened its doors in Berlin, just days after the World Economic Forum ranked Germany second in its Tourism Competitiveness Report 2010-2011.
Foreign visitors flock to Germany
European nations occupy the top five places in the most recent edition of the annual Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report, compiled by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
Switzerland, Germany and France head the overall ranking, followed by Austria and Sweden. With its low inflation rates, the EU in particular has become a predictable and calculable holiday destination for foreign visitors.
Germany, situated in the heart of Europe, jumped from third to second place on the 2010/2011 WEF list thanks to its abundant natural resources, good infrastructure in the health and public transportation sector, the service quality in hotels and restaurants and the country's many international fairs and exhibitions.
German cities have experienced a veritable travel boom: In 2010, hotels noted a 10 percent increase in overnight stays by guests from abroad, while German airports recorded an 11 percent rise.
Cologne Cathedral:'an exceptional work of human creative genius'
Historic and cultural landmarks abound in the country. The Gothic cathedral in Cologne, for instance, is not only the city's principal tourist attraction; it is one of the most popular cultural monuments worldwide.
In addition, prices in German tourist hotspots range below the European average, making the country an attractive destination for a growing number of tourists.
A new image
The German National Tourist Board is hoping to increase the number of visitors from 60 million per year now to about 80 million in 2020 - and is banking on Germany's many cultural and natural UNESCO World Heritage sites that stretch from the Wadden Sea in the north to the Alps in the south.
Interesting tourist spots alone, however, don't necessarily make an attractive tourist destination.
That is more likely due to the new image the land of 'travel champions' - a label that travel-happy Germans have had for decades - has acquired as recently as 2006, when the world was surprised to see Germans stage and participate in a four week-long cheerful Soccer World Cup party: The morose, fussy and orderly Germans had turned into open, friendly and tolerant hosts.
Author: Mathias Hellfeld / db
Editor: Rob Turner