Germany’s Tourism Struggles Despite EU Rebound

Germany’s Tourism Struggles Despite EU Rebound

Germany's travel and tourism sector is recovering slowly compared to other major European destinations, according to the latest Economic Impact Research (EIR) from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

The report shows that while domestic tourism has supported the sector, spending by international visitors is still much lower than it was before the pandemic.

Germany trails in GDP, jobs, tourism

In 2023, Germany’s travel and tourism sector added just over €453 billion to the country’s GDP, which is €13.5 billion less than in 2019.

Employment in the sector grew by 5% to 6.18 million people, but it is still nearly 250,000 jobs less than in 2019.

International visitor spending was still more than 25% below 2019 levels, with a shortfall of €14 billion.

However, spending by domestic visitors fully recovered in 2023, surpassing 2019 levels by €2.9 billion. This shows that domestic visitors have been the main reason for the sector’s recovery after the pandemic.

WTTC CEO urges government support

Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, stressed the need for government support and working with private companies to bring back international visitors

She said that while Germany’s travel and tourism sector has shown strength, there is still a long way to go, and the recent increase in airline passenger taxes will slow down the recovery.

Simpson also pointed out that international visitors are a significant driver for the economy and urged the German government to work with travel and tourism businesses to find ways to encourage these visitors to return.

2024 GDP to recover, jobs lag

Looking ahead to 2024, the WTTC predicts that Germany’s travel and tourism sector will contribute almost €469 billion to the economy, a small 0.5% increase from 2019.

The sector is expected to add 160,000 jobs this year, but this will still be 80,000 jobs short of pre-pandemic levels.

International visitor spending is projected to remain almost 10% below 2019, with a shortfall of €5.1 billion in 2024.

Domestic visitor spending, however, is expected to continue growing modestly, with a 1.2% increase to nearly €411 billion.

Growth potential with government support

The WTTC believes that with the right government support, Germany’s travel and tourism sector could grow to nearly €554 billion by 2034.

This would be just over 12% of the German economy and could employ almost 6.5 million people.

To reach this goal, the government must work with private companies to keep Germany an attractive place for international visitors and provide good long-term jobs for German residents.

EU travel sector exceeds pre-pandemic

Unlike Germany’s slow recovery, the European Union’s (EU) travel and tourism sector grew by more than 8% in 2023, reaching €1.65 trillion.

Jobs in the sector surpassed 2019 levels, reaching over 23.5 million.

International spending grew by 11.5% to €471.5 billion, nearly reaching pre-pandemic levels, while domestic visitor spending grew almost 5% to €963 billion, surpassing pre-pandemic figures.

The WTTC predicts continued growth for the EU’s travel and tourism sector next year.

The GDP contribution is expected to reach almost €1.75 trillion, with jobs exceeding 24.5 million, international visitor spending reaching €517 billion, and domestic visitor spending surpassing €982 billion.

Germany must adapt to travel changes

As the global travel and tourism industry recovers from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Germany needs to adapt and support its struggling sector.

By working with private companies and creating policies that attract international visitors and support domestic tourism, Germany can set itself up for a stronger and more resilient recovery in the future.