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Travel

Illegal Oktoberfest tickets

Reservations for places at tables in the beer tents at Munich's world-famous Oktoberfest this autumn are already changing hands online for thousands of euros. Officials warn: don't buy those tickets!

The October beer festival, which contrary to its name actually starts on September 19, draws 6 million visitors to the Bavarian capital each year from the four corners of the Earth. Some are prepared to dig deep into their pockets for a table reservation.

But if you are not an annual regular customer, it is very difficult to get a place in the big beer tents: Evening and weekend places are no longer available online, according to the Muenchner Merkur newspaper. Online forms are now only allowing potential guests to book lunch spaces.

However, unofficial online resale portals are taking table reservations for 500 euros per person and up to 10,000 euros for two whole tables. "We call on people not to pay these astronomical prices," said Thomas Reiner, spokesman of the beer festival. All pre-bookings are only provisional: Beer landlords have not yet received permits from the city authorities, as they are issued in April.

The situation has worsened since 2003, when Dieter Reiter, then festival chief and current mayor of Munich, changed the rules to restrict the number of seats that could be pre-booked. The intention was to allow more local Munich residents to turn up spontaneously and find seats in the beer tents.

ej/eg (dpa, sueddeutsche.de)