A total of 6.6 million guests in 2016 accounted for 13.3 million overnight stays in Hamburg – an increase of 5.5 per cent or 692,000 overnight stays over 2015. The annual results have thus surpassed those of the previous year for the fifteenth consecutive time. Room capacity averaged 79.6 per cent last year.
Andreas Rieckhof, State Councillor in the Ministry for Economics, Traffic and Innovation, noted: “The tourist sector is a global, very sensitive causal network overall. Despite difficult global, political conditions, demand in Hamburg is still very steady and growing at a healthy, constant level. The view of the competition and developments in other European cities show clearly that growth in tourism is not a matter of course.” Once again, Hamburg’s tourist industry has proven a cornerstone of the economic location and offers around 100,000 people a professional perspective.
Demand strongest in Hamburg
An increase of 5.5 per cent or 692,000 additional overnight stays over 2015 means Hamburg is above the 2.6 per cent growth in Germany as a tourist destination. Compared to other German cities, Hamburg is witnessing the strongest rise in demand.
Commenting on the interesting developments, Michael Otremba, Managing Director of Hamburg Tourismus GmbH, said: “Last year, we managed to get another 292,000 people (over 2015) excited about Hamburg. That is due to countless stories and pictures by people in the tourist industry to stir up enthusiasm for Hamburg among new guests. Guests then share their personal experiences on social media and are thus credible messengers. Visitors who come to Hamburg for meetings and congresses leave the city as important multipliers for their sector and come to the Hanse city again for private reasons. We want to make even stronger use of this potential for communication in Hamburg’s tourist sector.“
The opening of the Elbphilharmonie has sparked great optimism and a chance to anchor Hamburg as a European holiday destination. “Talks with airlines, shipping companies, travel and congress providers have shown that the Elbphilharmonie has opened doors especially abroad and is putting Hamburg on the map. We want to use this dynamic. But we also realize that plenty remains to be done en route to establishing Hamburg as a top, internationally-known travel destination.”
More foreign overnight stays
Last year, overnight stays by visitors from abroad increased 5.5 per cent and have come to 3.3 million overnight stays meanwhile and accounted for a share of 24.6 per cent. Last year, the Top 10 most important foreign markets for Hamburg led to strong growth in overnight stays. Most were by people from Denmark (396,000 or +7.8 per cent over 2015), followed by Switzerland with growth of 10.0 per cent and 340,00 overnight stays. Demand from Britain grew by 8.5 per cent despite Brexit fears. Of the Top 10 markets, only Austria accounted for a slight drop of 1.8 per cent in overnight stays.
The intercontinental markets, the United States (+6.0 per cent) and China (+30.7 per cent) showed a “pleasing dynamic”. Demand from Russia dropped for the fourth successive year and overnight stays decreased by 7.8 per cent in 2016. Many crises-torn regions, warzones and economic upheaval are having a direct impact on travel flows and make forecasts for the markets in Hamburg and Germany as a tourist destination difficult.
Highest hotel capacity in Hamburg
Last year, four new hotels with around 520 rooms opened in Hamburg. Room occupancy in Hamburg averaged 79.6 per cent (+1.4 per cent) in 2016 putting the city ahead of Berlin (77.1 per cent) and Munich (75.9 per cent). The average price of a room rose 5.2 per cent to EUR 115 bringing the revpar to EUR 92 (+6.7 per cent) in Hamburg.
Growth based on public acceptance
Further developments must be based on a positive investment climate in tourist-related projects, infrastructure and good connections to Hamburg as well as accessibility. Apart from international renown and the challenges of digitalisation, Otremba said public appreciation of the importance of tourism is crucial for marketing Hamburg. “We are trying not only to present tourism as an economic factor that brings Hamburg more than EUR 6 billion in added value every year, but we also query the mood among Hamburg’s population regularly. Only a city that is guided by residents’ needs remains attractive for tourists.” At present, Hamburg Tourismus GmbH is conducting its fourth survey on the perception of tourism among the people of Hamburg.
Elbphilharmonie and other cultural highlights
Apart from the first concerts at the Elphilharmonie, the international “Theatre of the World” (May 25-June 11, 2017) is being held again in Hamburg for the first time since 1989. Other cultural highlights include the Hamburg Cruise Days (September 8-10, 2017) with record ship numbers and the Blue Port light installation. The Reeperbahn Festival will attract many international music fans from September 20-23, 2017.
Meetings and congresses
This year’s congresses include the Seatrade Europe 2017 Cruise & Rivercruise Convention, which is key to the Hamburg Cruise Days, the Online Marketing Rockstars with its exhibition and congress regularly attracts 25,000 visitors to the city. The Congress of the German Diabetes Society will be held in May and Hamburg will also host the d3con – the world’s biggest programmatic advertising event – this year.
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