Tourism in Germany

Tourism in Germany

Outside the EU, there is an opinion that Germany is a tourist paradise for the disabled. In fact, experts say, this is a myth. Many castles and palaces are not accessible to people with disabilities.

In western Germany, the Eifel National Park stretches along the Belgian border. It is very popular with people with disabilities, and this is not surprising. For tourists with disabilities, the park staff have developed special routes. Although the reserve is located in a mountainous area, wheelchair users can easily navigate through it. A number of employees have completed courses on barrier-free tourism. Several guides conduct sign language guided tours for deaf and dumb visitors.

We took care of the visually impaired tourists in the Eifel Park. Numerous tactile plates imitate the terrain and provide information about the flora and fauna of the reserve. “We originally wanted to make our park accessible to everyone, with or without disabilities. This allowed us to increase the number of tourists,” said spokeswoman Silvia Montag.

Blind tourists in Eifel can explore the landscape of the reserve with their hands

Tourists cannot enter the castle in a wheelchair

The example of the Eifel National Park is not representative for the whole country. In the Federal Republic of Germany, there are still many tourist sites that not everyone can get to. This is especially true for old buildings.

According to the chairman of the public organization "Tourism for All" Guido Frank (Guido Frank), the law guarantees people with disabilities the right to visit all attractions. True, it is often contradicted by another law - on the protection of architectural monuments, according to which the re-equipment of old buildings is prohibited. “In addition, in some federal states, building codes are so strict that they seem to protect castles and palaces more than people,” says Frank.

Guido Frank is confident that with a creative approach, any tourist site can be made accessible to people with disabilities. He cites the example of Schloss Rheinsberg in the vicinity of Berlin. For a long time, there was no elevator in it, as the city authorities were afraid to destroy its historical appearance with additional structures. As a result, it was decided to install an elevator in the wing. "Since then, Rheinsberg Castle has been in great demand among wheelchair users. Now it has special lifts, and descenders, and ramps," says Frank.

Germany lags behind the Scandinavian countries

Ilya Seifert, a member of the Bundestag from the Left Party faction, agrees with the opinion of the chairman of the public organization "Tourism for All". In parliament, he defends the interests of people with disabilities, since he himself has been confined to a wheelchair since the age of 16.

Seifert believes that the development of barrier-free tourism in Germany was started relatively late, and there are still cases when the interests of wheelchair users and blind citizens are simply forgotten. “We would have much less problems if all new construction projects were initially designed with the interests of people with disabilities in mind,” he notes.

Is the protection of monuments compatible with barrier tourism?

Often, Seifert continues, people with disabilities are left alone with their problems. “They are simply confronted with the fact: there are no ramps, and the passages there are too narrow, you cannot drive in a wheelchair, but in this new gallery there are no special toilets. This infringes upon our rights,” the politician states. For such an economically developed country as Germany, this is impermissible.

Technical diving

According to the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Reports, Germany is ranked as one of the safest travel destinations in the world. Germany is the third most visited country in Europe, with 380.3 million overnight stays in 2010, the highest since the country's reunification. The number of overnight stays increased in comparison with 2009 by 3% [3]. In 2008, the number of overnight stays was 369.6 million [4] [5]. Of this number, 56.5 million overnight stays are accounted for by foreign guests, with the majority of foreign tourists arriving in 2009 from the Netherlands, the USA and Switzerland (see table). In 2010, the number of overnight stays of tourists from abroad increased by 10 percent compared to 2009 to 60.3 million [3].

Official tourism authority in Germany The German National Tourism Committee is represented by National Tourism Offices in 29 countries. The Committee's research showed the following reasons for recreation in Germany: culture (75%), outdoor/rural recreation (59%), cities (59%), cleanliness (47%), safety (41%), modernity (36 %), good hotels (35%), good cooking/cuisine (34%), good accessibility (30%), cosmopolitanism/telecommunications (27%), good shopping opportunities (21%), exciting nightlife (17%) and good value for money (10%) (multiple responses were possible).

More than 30% of Germans spend their holidays in their own country. With more than 133 million foreign tourists (2008) Germany is the seventh most visited in the world. A total of € 27.2 billion is spent annually on travel and tourism: equivalent to 3.2% of Germany's GDP.


History [edit]

The history of tourism in Germany is rooted in visits to cities and landscapes for learning and recreation. Since the late eighteenth century, cities such as Dresden, Munich, Weimar and Berlin have been major stops on the European Grand Tour. In particular, resorts in the North and Baltic Seas and in the Rhine Valley developed during the 19th and early 20th centuries. After the end of World War II, tourism in Germany increased significantly as many tourists visited Germany to experience the spirit of European history. In the countryside, tourists seek a rural idyll, while cities are attracted by modern and classical architecture and cultural attractions.

Statistics [edit]

The table below shows the distribution of overnight stays for national and international tourists in Germany in 2008. Bavaria has the largest number of visitors with 76.91 million overnight stays in hotels and hostels (14,300 overnight stays per 1000 population); Mecklenburg-Vorpommern has the highest tourist density.

Countryside [edit]

Health tourism [edit]

About 242,000,000 overnight stays, or ⅔ of all overnight stays in Germany, are in resort towns. [6]. Germany is well known as a health tourism destination, with many of the spas originating from hot springs, offering treatment (German: Chur) or prophylaxis with mineral water and/or other spa treatments. Spas and seaside resorts often bear a corresponding name, such as mineral and mud spas (Mineral-und-Moorbäder), health resorts (Heilklimatische Kurorte), spa resorts (Kneippkurorte), seaside resorts (Seebäder), climate resorts (Luftkurorte), health resorts rest (Erholungsorte). The largest and most famous resorts also have casinos, primarily Bad Wiessee, Baden-Baden (Kurhaus), Wiesbaden (Kurhaus), Aachen, Travemünde and Westerland (Kurhaus).

Regions [edit]

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