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Travel & Tourism in Germany is Still Trailing European Neighbours, WTTC Research Reveals

Sector’s Recovery Led by Domestic Tourism

Return of international visitor spend and job numbers yet to recover


Leipzig, Germany: The World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) 2024 Economic Impact Research (EIR) has revealed today a much slower recovery of Germany’s Travel & Tourism sector compared to other key European destinations.

The data shows domestic tourism is propping up the sector in Germany, but international travel spend in Germany remains below pre-pandemic levels.

Unlike many of its neighbours, Germany’s Travel & Tourism sector is yet to recover its GDP contribution, jobs lost during the pandemic, and international visitor spend.

According to the global tourism body’s latest research, the sector’s contribution to Germany’s GDP reached just over €453BN in 2023 - €13.5BN below 2019 levels. 

Employment in Travel & Tourism grew by 5% to reach 6.18MN, but this was still almost 250,000 behind 2019.

International visitor spending remained more than 25% behind 2019 last year - €14BN less being spent by international visitors in 2019. 

Domestic visitor spending however, did fully recover in 2023, exceeding the 2019 level by €2.9BN, evidence that domestic visitors have led the sector’s path toward post-pandemic recovery. 

Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, said; "While Germany's Travel & Tourism sector has shown signs of resilience, there is a long way to go, and the recent increase of airline passenger taxes will undoubtedly hamper the recovery.

“Domestic visitor spending has stayed strong. But taxes will only delay the recovery. The German government should sit down with Travel & Tourism businesses to plan how to stimulate the return of international visitors as it is an important driver of the economy”.

What Does This Year Look Like?

Although the sector’s overall GDP contribution is forecast to recover in 2024, both jobs and international visitor spending will remain below 2019 levels.

WTTC forecasts that Travel & Tourism will contribute almost €469BN to the Germany economy in 2024, an increase of 0.5% from 2019. Jobs are predicted to increase by 160,000 this year, however this will still be 80,000 below pre-pandemic highs.

International visitor spending is expected to remain almost 10% behind 2019 with a deficit of €5.1BN in 2024, compared to five years ago. However, domestic visitor spending is projected to continue growing modestly this year, with a 1.2% increase to reach almost €411BN.

What Does the Next Decade Look Like?
With the right government support, WTTC is forecasting that the sector could grow its annual GDP contribution to nearly €554BN by 2034, representing just over 12% of the German economy, and could potentially employ almost 6.5MN people across the country.

This is only possible if the government works with the private sector to ensure Germany remains an attractive destination for international visitors and provides viable long-term employment to German residents.

Across the European Union

The EU’s Travel & Tourism sector grew by more than 8% in 2023 to reach €1.65TN, whilst jobs reached more than 23.5MN, just past the 2019 level. International spending grew 11.5% to hit €471.5BN – within touching distance of the pre-pandemic period. Domestic visitor spending grew almost 5% to reach €963BN, surpassing the pre-pandemic level.

WTTC is forecasting that Travel & Tourism across the region will continue to grow next year with GDP contribution set to reach almost €1.75TN. Jobs are forecast to exceed 24.5MN, international visitor spending is forecast to reach €517BN and domestic visitor spending is expected to pass €982BN.

For more information, please visit

Visit the Economic Impact data at the WTTC Research Hub

Editors Notes
This cutting-edge research was carried out in partnership with Oxford Economics. All values are in constant 2023 prices and exchange rates, as reported in March 2024.

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