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Tourism and recreation

Number of overnight stays in Germany

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Detailed sources:

Federal Statistical Office (2019): Tourismus in Zahlen 2017. Available at: https://www.destatis.de/DE/ZahlenFakten/Wirtschaftsbereiche/BinnenhandelGastgewerbeTourismus/Tourismus/Tourismus.html (viewed: 10.07.2019).

Sensitive habitats such as coasts and mountain regions are important to tourism

Germany remains the Germans’ favourite holiday destination. Overnight stays continued to rise in Germany in 2018. The most popular German destinations likewise remained unchanged: Aside from major cities, overnight stays were concentrated on the coasts, in the central uplands and in the Alpine region. This can have adverse effects on such ecologically sensitive areas.


Tourist overnight stays in Germany give a representative overall impression of the distribution of tourism intensity in Germany. Germany set a record of 478 million overnight stays in 2018. The trend is expected to continue in years to come. The greatest density of overnight stays (outside of major cities) is to be found in the coastal regions of Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (with over 5,000 overnight stays per square kilometre).

Demand is also strong in the central uplands, the Alps and varied river landscapes. 75 percent of German holidays target Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein. While environmental pressures can rarely be attributed to tourist activities alone, the geographical and seasonal concentration of tourism in Germany is frequently the main factor in negative impacts on valuable habitats. Participative planning and sustainable tourism development are key instruments in reducing the pressures resulting from tourism.

More information

Tourism Development in protected areas (BfN-page)

Statistical data on tourism in Germany (Federal Statistical Office)

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