A study presented Monday showed that fans around the world have been taken aback by Germany's openness during the 2006 World Cup. Over 90 percent of visitors said it really is "A Time to Make Friends."
It's been so much fun in Germany, we're planning our next trip
Millions of fans descended on Germany during the opening stages of the World Cup, and while some have already followed their teams home and others look for last-minute bargains on airfare to Berlin, a study published Monday showed nearly all of them enjoyed their time in the country.
"Germany has created an excellent atmosphere and image of itself," said Alfons Madeja, a sports scientist, while presenting the study. "The World Cup has also contributed to a new, natural and healthy German sense of self-confidence."
Just over 93 percent of the 5,000 soccer fans from around the world who took part in the study gave the host country an overall grade of good to very good, Madeja told the German dpa news agency.
Eating, drinking and partying win out
Are one of you in the wrong section?
Friendship and the bare necessities proved to be what most fans were looking to get out of their trip to Germany. At 88.7 percent, meeting people from other countries was nearly as important as the triumvirate of "eating, drinking and partying," according to the study.
The venues' elaborate cultural programs, on the other hand, didn't fare as well. Music concerts were the most popular part of the non-soccer program, catching the interest of 43.1 percent of foreign visitors.
"Art and culture are, however, an important factor in repeat visits," according to a study of the 2004 European Championships.
Only 4 percent of the respondents came to Germany alone while 64 percent came in with friends.
"There were a lot of men coming in clubs who had previously traveled to several world and European cups in the past," Madeja said, adding that the rest of the visitors came with family members.
Changing the image of Germany
Germans aren't used to taking shelter under the flag
The stereotypical view of Germans as orderly and reserved also changed in a number of minds, according to Madeja.
"We showed emotion and finally were not afraid to be happy, express our pride and joy and show our national colors," he added.
But Germans still held on to their image as organized and efficient while presenting the country as a safe place to visit with a short supply of good cooks.
Safety, ease of transportation and organization all ranked well in the survey, while the quality of food left about one of four people looking for something else to eat.