For an impressive fifth consecutive year, Germany reached a record high for tourism in 2014. Travellers from Europe are consistently choosing to visit (they make up 75% of all visitors), but there is also a growing amount of visitors from the Arab Gulf states, China, and the United States.
As a tour operator or activity provider, this should be encouraging news. More tourists should mean more customers, yet it's crucial to constantly tweak and adapt your service, marketing, and business model.
To keep up, here are five travel trends fuelling Germany's tourism growth, both at present and in the next five years. Have a read, then consider: how will they affect your business?
1. Attention from the millennial travel market
We recently wrote about how millennials are travelling more than previous generations. This very much applies to Germany: the number of 15-34 year olds travelling from Europe to Germany grew 10.8 percent between 2013 and 2014, and many of these were young Americans.
Female travellers are also increasingly choosing Germany as a destination. In 2014 women made up 55 per cent of all visitors: a notable 12 per cent more than in 2010.
These stats are from an interview by Skift with Petra Hedorfer, CEO of the National German Tourism Board - the insights are certainly worth reading for tourism professionals.
2. An increase in longer stays
Germany is proving popular for longer stays in Europe, as are Spain and Portugal (ITB World Travel Trends Report 2014/2015). Tour and activity operators can take advantage of this by providing vistors with opportunities to see the city from different angles. For instance, food and culture tours, walking tours, and region-specific activities.
3. More attention on lesser-known regions of Germany
Petra Hedorfer explained to Skift how the German Tourism Board is making an effort to promote Germany's lesser-known regions, which will be welcome news for tourism companies in these areas.
The tourism board's theme for 2015 is "Traditions & Customs", which highlights selling points such as East Frisian tea ceremonies and the tradition of handmade Christmas ornaments in Saxony’s Ore Mountains.
In 2016, they will be marketing nature vacations in Germany, including the country's 16 national parks, 15 UNESCO biospheres and 104 nature parks.
If your region is attracting growth, it could suggest that 2015-2020 is a good time to start a tour and activity company or expand your existing one.
4. A growing reputation of Germany as an arts and youth hub
One element of Germany's appeal to millennial visitors is its growing image as an arts and youth hub, especially in cities such as Berlin and Leipzig. For travellers looking for art events, artisan food, and hipster coffee shops, it's hard to surpass Germany at the moment.
5. A rise in user-generated content to market the country
People are relying more often on user-generated content to inform their travel decisions. Whether it's reading a blog, checking what a social media influencer has to say, or watching another traveller's YouTube video, we tend to trust user-generated online sources.
This trend matches our increased use of mobile devices, alongside online booking trends.
Make your website mobile-optimised, integrate an online booking and payment system such as TrekkSoft, and your customers will thank you. Who wants to phone up a company to book a tour when you can make a few clicks online?
You can also make your website (and wider brand) more shareable and memorable by adding a range of beautiful images and media, including video. If your website is due an overhaul, try not to delay acting on this.
By adapting to digital trends now, you'll be ready for the tourists coming your way. You can do this with the help of our SEO ebook: