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German travel stay sector nudges near pre-COVID levels

June 13, 2023

Germany's travel and tourism sector appears to be on the rebound after the COVID-19 pandemic and despite stubborn inflation. Domestic vacationing in particular has proved to be a particular boon.

Tourists on a beach on Germany's Baltic Sea coast
Tourists filling Germany's hotels, camp sites and holiday apartments tend to be domestic travelers Image: picture-alliance/ZB/S. Sauer

Germany logged some 40.2 million overnight stays in April 2023 — significantly more than a year earlier, data from the Destatis statistics agency showed on Tuesday.

The figure represents a 12.4% jump in bookings compared with the previous year's 35.7 million, almost reaching the same level as before the coronavirus pandemic.

How the statistics break down

There was a 28.5% increase in the number of guests coming from abroad — to 6.3 million — compared to the same month last year.

However, this was still well below the pre-coronavirus level from 2019.

It was Germany's strong domestic tourism industry that ramped up the numbers.

The number of stays by German guests rose by 9.9% — to 33.9 million.

That figure, which can also include business bookings, is actually up on pre-pandemic levels — 2.6% more than in April 2019.

Combined, the number of stays was only 0.2% lower than in 2019.

It was in 2022 that the biggest jump in overnight bookings was noticed, with only 8.5 million in 2021.

April 2020 — when only necessary business trips or travel for other urgent circumstances was allowed — saw bookings at their lowest during the entire pandemic, at 4.3 million.

Inflation proves a positive force

The figures match predictions earlier in the year by the German Tourism Association, which said inflation could see many Germans could opt for domestic trips rather than long-distance ones.

It noted that demand from abroad was more limited but still picking up — with city breaks proving particularly popular.

In the wake of the pandemic, the industry has voiced concerns about the shortage of skilled workers forcing some hospitality and gastronomy businesses to close or reduce availability.

The survey figures include hotels, guesthouses, apartments, campsites and other tourism-related accommodation with at least 10 beds or guest parking spaces.

Edited by: Louis Oelofse

Richard Connor Reporting on stories from around the world, with a particular focus on Europe — especially Germany.