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Business

Germany becoming magnet for tourists, record hotel bookings

Germany has become increasingly popular among tourists from home and abroad, according to a report by the German Economics Ministry. Overnight stays at hotels surged to a record 400 million last year.

Referring to a fresh report by the Federal Economics Ministry, the "Passauer Neue Presse" daily newspaper said German hotels logged another full-year record of overnight stays in 2012, after already welcoming a record number of tourists in the two previous years.

It noted that for the first time ever, more than 400 million overnight stays were recorded last year, the precise figure being 407.3 million people. That marked a 3.6-percent increase from the levels reached in 2011.

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The report highlighted a 8.1 percent surge in foreign tourists numbers in 2012. Nonetheless, most tourists staying in hotels came from within Germany itself, notably 340 million people.

Most attractive regions

The survey describes Germany's southern states of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg as the biggest tourist magnets, while the city states of Berlin and Hamburg posted the most marked surge in tourist hotel bookings.

The Economics Ministry explicitly defended the 2010 lowering of value-added tax (VAT) for the hotel business in Germany. At the initiative of the pro-business Free Democrats, VAT for the sector was brought down to just 7 percent from the standard 19 percent.

The ministry was quoted as saying the measure had had a positive impact on both hotel operators and guests. It said hotel owners had been able to spend additional resources on maintenance or the expansion of their businesses.

hg/ipj (AFP, dpa)

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