Tải bản đầy đủ - 0trang
The tourism geography of Austria, Germany and Switzerland
178 Worldwide Destinations
Apart from Germany’s short North Sea and Baltic coasts, the area under consideration
in this chapter is landlocked. Three major physical regions can be identified:
The North German Plain and the coast are of relatively limited importance for
The Central Uplands, which include areas such as the Rhineland and the Harz
Mountains in Germany, the Mittelland plateau in Switzerland and the Danube
Valley in Austria, are more significant.
The Alpine region is of major importance for international tourism. It includes
most of Austria, half of Switzerland and the south of Bavaria in Germany.
Forests, lakes and mineral springs are major recreational resources in all three
With the exception of the North Sea coast, the region has a continental climate,
with winters getting colder the further one travels east, but also as a result of altitude. In the mountains the climate is bracing, with clean air and brilliant sunshine,
but the weather varies with aspect and altitude and fogs are frequent in some valleys
during the winter. The cold winters bring the snow which made possible the development of winter sports, yet the resorts on the shores of the more southerly lakes
bask in almost Mediterranean temperatures. The Föhn wind frequently blows down
some of the south-facing valleys of the Alps bringing unseasonal warmth and
excessive dryness during the winter months.
Despite their very different historical backgrounds, all three countries are federal
republics, with considerable devolution of powers (including tourism responsibilities) to the states in Germany, provinces in Austria and cantons in Switzerland.
Major population concentrations include the Rühr conurbation of Germany, Vienna
in Austria and in Switzerland, Zurich, though not the capital, is the largest city.
German is the dominant language throughout the region, but in Switzerland,
French, Italian and Romansch are also official languages.
The economies of the three countries are highly developed and industrialized
with a high standard of living and quality of life. This is reflected in the widespread
demand for environmentally sound tourism. Both Germany and Austria are members of the European Union, while Switzerland – in line with its historic tradition of
neutrality – has no political affiliation. A central geographic location and good communications mean that levels of outbound tourism are high in all three countries.
However, high prices do limit the number of inbound tourists. In Austria and
Switzerland the annual holiday entitlement is four weeks or more, and in Germany
entitlement is five or more weeks. In Austria there is a 35–40 hour working week, in
Germany 40 hours is the norm, but in Switzerland working hours are relatively high
and attempts are being made to reduce them.
Austria is a small country with a capital that is larger than might be expected, due
to the historical fact that Vienna ruled the vast Hapsburg Empire until 1918. The
lavishly decorated Baroque churches, monasteries and palaces are part of that heritage. Austrian composers – notably Mozart and Schubert – made an immense
contribution to the world of music and are now celebrated through annual music
festivals. But for most people, the abiding image of Austria is its scenic countryside
The tourism geography of Austria, Germany and Switzerland 179
of lakes and mountains, while its reputation as one of the world’s major winter
sports destinations has tended to overshadow the many cultural attractions.
Tourism plays a major role in Austria’s economy, accounting for 5 per cent of the
gross national product. Austria has the benefit of both a summer and a winter season – the winter sports market has grown steadily since the late 1950s and is now
more significant in terms of tourist spending than summer tourism, although it
remains smaller in volume. Skiing helped to restore national pride following the
disaster of two world wars, and ski-racing is a major spectator sport. For many
years Austria was in the top position as a skiing destination, having overtaken
Switzerland in the 1950s, but more recently France has relegated it to second place.
Much of the resort development took place in the years following the Second World
War as part of the reconstruction of Austria’s economy.
Demand for tourism
Domestic and outbound tourism
The travel propensity of Austrians is increasing (over two-thirds of the population
take a holiday) of which domestic holidays account for the majority of trips. There
is a growing move towards taking more than one holiday, particularly in the form
of short breaks to events in Austrian cities, and this is spreading the holiday pattern
away from July and August. Farmhouse stays have been successfully promoted to
encourage tourism throughout the rural areas, but there is still a concentration of
holidays in the Tyrol, creating considerable congestion, with visitors outnumbering
the inhabitants in many villages. Austria is a major generator of international
tourists on a world scale, though the majority of trips are to neighbouring countries,
emphasizing Austria’s favourable location in Europe. The majority of holidays
abroad are to Mediterranean countries – particularly Italy, Greece and Croatia.
Austria attracted around 18 million international visitors in the early years of the
twenty-first century, giving Austria a surplus on its travel account. The majority are
on a holiday visit and there is no doubt that proximity to Germany is important to
Austria as that market accounts for well over half of all arrivals. The next two countries, the Netherlands and the UK, are also important sources of tourists but together
only account for a small proportion of overnights. New markets in Eastern Europe,
coupled with marketing initiatives also mean that Austria is receiving an increasing
number of visits from this region. In addition to their proximity, Germans are
attracted to Austria because there is no language barrier, their currencies have similar buying power, and yet Austria, with its more relaxed lifestyle, is sufficiently different from Germany to give a feeling of being in a foreign country. This reliance on
one market does leave Austria vulnerable in times of recession and the concentration
of visits determined by holiday periods in Germany causes congestion at the borders.
In popular holiday areas many resorts become totally geared to the German market.
Supply of tourism
With the German market so dominant, the majority of tourists arrive by car on the
18 000 kilometre road network and experience traffic congestion at the beginning
180 Worldwide Destinations
and end of the main holiday periods. The tortuous nature of some of the roads
emphasizes the difficulty of transportation in this elongated and mountainous
country, yet the network reaches into the most remote parts, and includes Europe’s
highest road to the summit of the Gross Glockner. There are over 6000 kilometres of
railway including 20 private railway companies, and these are well integrated with
rural bus services reaching the most remote communities.
With six airports of international standard in Austria, this is the main mode of
travel for outbound tourism, although some argue that a restrictive policy on
inbound flights to Vienna in the past has held back the development of the tourist
industry and compounded Austria’s dependence on the German market. On the
other hand Austrian Airlines is expanding its international network, with Vienna as
the hub, in partnership with the charter airline Lauda Air.
The majority of Austria’s bedspaces are in serviced accommodation and except in the
cities, these are mainly small, family-run hotels and guesthouses. The authorities are
improving the quality of accommodation as a means of boosting both domestic and
foreign tourism. Although business travel is relatively unimportant in Austria, the
small conference market is being developed, particularly in Vienna, Linz, Salzburg,
Innsbruck, Graz and Villach, as well as in the larger schlosshotels (castles and palaces
formerly owned by the aristocracy) which have been converted into hotels.
Each of the nine Austrian provinces has responsibility for tourism administered by the
provincial government and a tourist board. At national level tourism is the responsibility of the Ministry of Economic Affairs. Promotion of Austria is the responsibility
of the Austrian National Tourist Organization, a joint public/private agency with
funding from the government and the Chamber of Commerce. The organization has
undergone a restructuring to ensure an overtly marketing focus in the face of stagnant
demand from the international market. The tourism authorities in Austria are upgrading tourist infrastructure generally, particularly in the area of sports and facilities for
activity holidays, and extending the network of ski lifts and funiculars. Nevertheless
some resorts (such as Mayrhofen) have halted further development in line with
Austria’s green image and this may have persuaded potential skiers to choose France
Austria contains 35 per cent of the Alpine area (compared to Switzerland’s 15 per
cent) and the country is famed for its lake and mountain scenery, winter sports facilities and picturesque towns and villages. Trending east–west across the country and
separated by the deep valley of the river Inn, the mountains are Austria’s main
attraction. Here tourism is often the only economic land use and is seen as a remedy
for the problems of a declining agriculture. However, this is not without environmental costs, such as forest hillsides and meadows scarred from ski-lift development
or villages marred by insensitive building.
Each of the Austrian provinces can offer distinctive attractions:
The Tyrol is by far the most popular destination for foreign visitors, containing
the most spectacular Alpine scenery and the greatest number of ski resorts.
The tourism geography of Austria, Germany and Switzerland 181
Tyrolean folklore and costumes are the best known of Austria’s traditional
cultures. Most of the resorts have been developed from farming villages situated
in the tributary valleys of the river Inn – the Otztal and Zillertal for example – at
altitudes of between 1000 and 1800 metres. Traditional building styles, based on
the chalet that is well adapted to heavy winter snowfalls, provide a pleasant ambience for holidays. Summer activities in the Tyrol include hiking and gliding, while
most villages are equipped with a swimming pool and facilities for tennis and
other sports. Tourist centres include the following:
᭺ Innsbruck, which is not only the capital of the Tyrol but an important cultural
centre. The many Renaissance buildings are a reminder of its former role as a
summer residence for the Hapsburg emperors. Along with the ski resorts on the
slopes nearby, the city has twice hosted the Winter Olympics.
᭺ St Anton, Kitzbühl, Söll, Seefeld and Mayrhofen are also ski resorts of international significance.
The Vorarlberg to the west of the Arlberg Pass is similar to the Tyrol, but also has
some affinity with neighbouring Switzerland. Lech and Zürs offer up-market
skiing, while Bregenz on the Boden See is a popular lake resort and venue for
The tiny independent principality of Liechtenstein, which is better known as a tax
haven than as a winter sports destination, has strong historical ties to Austria but
uses the same currency as Switzerland.
The province of Salzburg and the Salzkammergut area (so called because of the
historically important salt mining industry) offer gentler lake and mountain
scenery. St Wolfgang is the most popular of the resorts in summer, but its entertainment scene is subdued compared to Söll or Kitzbühl in winter. Other attractions include the Krimml waterfalls in the Hohe Tauern National Park, the
Dachstein ice caves and the spas of Bad Ischl and Bad Gastein.
Domestic tourists mainly favour the forested ‘green province’ of Styria, although
the city of Graz was designated as the ‘European capital of culture’ for 2003 by the
EU Council of Ministers. Carinthia is increasingly popular with foreign visitors as
a summer holiday destination, where the warm sunny climate and lakes such the
Wörther See, offering many facilities for water sports, are the main attractions.
The remaining provinces of Austria, occupying the Danube Valley, are scenically
less attractive, with large areas of lowland supplying most of the country’s agricultural needs. The Burgenland is similar in its steppe landscapes to neighbouring Hungary (to which it historically belonged), while the shallow Neusiedlersee
is an important nature reserve. Both the provinces of Upper and Lower Austria
contain vineyards, monasteries (such as Melk) and castles (such as Dürnstein) and
it is possible for the tourist to see these on a Danube river cruise from Vienna.
Whereas Graz, Linz and Innsbruck are important regional centres, only two of
Austria’s cities – Vienna and Salzburg – attract huge numbers of visitors from all
over the world, thanks to their heritage of music and architecture:
Vienna is full of reminders of its imperial past. These include the monumental
buildings lining the Ringstrasse encircling the old city, and the art treasures
housed in the former palaces of the Hofburg, Belvedere and Schönbrunn. Music
and dance are as much a part of the city’s social and entertainment scene as they
were in the time of the ‘Waltz King’ (Johann Strauss) in the nineteenth century.
The State Opera House and St Stephen’s Cathedral are also part of this musical
182 Worldwide Destinations
heritage. Although Vienna trades on nostalgia for its tourist appeal, the city is an
efficiently run modern conference venue, with an international role as a United
Nations centre, while geographical location makes it the recognized gateway to
Salzburg has a flourishing tourism industry based on:
᭺ The summer music festival, which was further boosted in 1991 by the Mozart
bicentenary celebrations. During festival time, accommodation in this relatively
small city is at a premium.
᭺ The ‘Sound of Music connection’. Classical music lovers are outnumbered by
those tourists who are attracted to the city and the scenic countryside of lakes
and mountains nearby, through their associations with this popular film.
᭺ Its unique heritage of Baroque architecture – probably unrivalled outside Spain
or Italy – which was brought into being by the powerful Prince–Bishops who
once ruled Salzburg.
Switzerland is poor in natural resources and contains a diversity of languages and
cultures. Yet its people have achieved a degree of political stability and economic
prosperity that is envied by the rest of the world. Swiss industrial products, based
on a high input of skill in relation to the value of the component raw materials, have
an international reputation for quality. Similarly, the country’s scenic attractions –
arguably the most spectacular in Europe – have been intelligently exploited by a
hospitality industry that is renowned for its professionalism. Historically, the country developed as a loose federation of cantons – small mountain states – fighting to
preserve their independence from foreign domination, and in many respects the
cantons still play a more important role in Swiss politics than the federal government in Berne. At the local level the communes also determine tourism planning
and development to a large extent, in line with the Swiss tradition of direct citizen
participation in politics.
Tourism in Switzerland has a long history, and the industry was already well
established in the late nineteenth century. Its development came about as a result of
a number of factors:
From early times, Switzerland was a transit zone for invading armies, merchants and
pilgrims, and later had to be crossed by wealthy travellers undertaking the Grand
Tour. The Swiss were in demand as guides, as there were no serviceable roads and
the Alpine passes were often hazardous. Accommodation was also needed for travellers, the most famous example being the hospice on the St Bernard Pass.
As a result of the Romantic Movement in art and literature at the close of the
eighteenth century, the mountains were no longer seen as a barrier to be feared,
but as a resource to be valued. For example, Byron and Shelley stayed for a considerable time by Lake Geneva, and summer resorts gradually developed for
well-off tourists around other lakes in Switzerland.
From the middle of the nineteenth century the demand for tourism in Switzerland
grew as the result of the Industrial Revolution in Western Europe, the improvement
in road and rail communications and the growth of the middle class, particularly
in countries like Britain, where Thomas Cook did much to popularize the country.
The tourism geography of Austria, Germany and Switzerland 183
The more adventurous tourists sought the challenges of mountain climbing,
following Whymper’s ascent of the Matterhorn in 1865. More remote areas of the
Alps were progressively opened up to tourism with the construction of funicular
and cog railways, and hotels were built at what was then the edge of the Alpine
glaciers, such as the Aletsch.
Although Switzerland had been known for its spas since Roman times, substantial
development of health tourism occurred in the late nineteenth and early twentieth
centuries as a result of the spread of tuberculosis in the industrial cities of Europe.
The pure mountain air in spas such as St Moritz Bad and Arosa was believed to
provide a remedy for the disease.
Skiing and other winter sports were introduced to St Moritz and the resorts of the
Bernese Oberland by wealthy British tourists at the close of the nineteenth century. At first, the existing mountain railways – now operating year-round – were
used to transport the skiers to the slopes, but as demand grew from the 1930s
onwards, they were largely superseded by faster, more efficient aerial cableways.
International trade had long been important to Swiss cities such as Geneva. The
strict neutrality of Switzerland and its multi-lingual character encouraged the
growth of all kinds of business and conference tourism. Starting with the Red
Cross, Geneva became the venue for many international organizations, while
Zurich is a financial centre of worldwide significance. Berne and Lausanne – the
headquarters respectively of the Universal Postal Union and the Olympic
Committee – also provide important conference functions.
Demand for tourism
Domestic and outbound tourism
The Swiss have one of the highest holiday propensities in the world, with around 75
per cent taking a holiday of at least four nights. Holiday-taking is at its highest
among upper-income groups, the middle-aged and those living in the larger towns
or cities. Demand for domestic tourism has grown in the past five years with the
high frequency of holiday-taking meaning that most domestic holidays are second
or third holidays.
Domestic holidays contrast with those taken abroad as they tend to be winter
sports or mountain holidays, many taken in the months of January to March. Swiss
holidays abroad are concentrated into the summer months of July to September and
the most popular destinations are Italy and France.
Demand from foreign visitors to Switzerland has stagnated since the 1990s (although
the travel account remained in surplus) for the following reasons:
the strength of the Swiss franc, which has given Switzerland a reputation as an
expensive country to visit as is reflected in the increasingly short lengths of stay
of foreign visitors
declining levels of service
an old-fashioned image of Switzerland.
As in Austria, Germans account for the majority of visitors. Around 40 per cent of
bednights occur in the winter season (November to April), a figure boosted by the
Swiss participating in winter sports.
184 Worldwide Destinations
Supply of tourism
The private car dominates travel in both the domestic and foreign travel market. As
in Austria, the transport networks are tortuous and the topography often demands
major engineering feats – the 18 kilometre tunnel under the St Gotthard being an
outstanding example, while the roads over the Alpine passes are spectacular. Even
so, roads in the High Alps are often blocked by snow from November to June. While
the road network brings many remoter parts of the country within reach of day
visitors, this has created congestion in holiday areas. Imposition of tolls may alleviate
The Swiss Federal Railways and the private railway companies operate 5000 kilometres of track (1400 kilometres are narrow-gauge) and there are many mountain
railways, funiculars and rack-and-pinion systems which are often tourist attractions
in themselves. Although the cost is high, tunnels and snowploughs allow the railways
to operate throughout the year.
There are three international airports – at Zurich, Geneva and Basle. Swissair – the
former national airline – was a casualty in the wake of 9/11, and was replaced by
Swiss International Air Lines, financed by the private sector. Other features of the
Swiss transport system, which is highly integrated, include the postal coaches –
which penetrate the remotest villages – bicycle hire at many rail stations, and lake
The development of accommodation since the 1970s has led to an excess of supply
over demand. About a third of the serviced accommodation capacity is only available in the winter season, particularly in the high ski resorts (such as St Moritz and
Arosa). Most hotels are small with the few larger hotels found mainly in Zurich and
Geneva. Hotels and holiday chalets (mainly catering for groups of skiers) are highly
dependent on foreign labour. ‘Supplementary accommodation’, including holiday
chalets, apartments, holiday villages and camping/caravan sites, provide a lowercost alternative to hotels for foreign visitors, but they are also popular with domestic
In the face of declining international demand for Switzerland in the 1990s, the Swiss
National Tourism Organization was renamed ‘Switzerland Tourism’ in 1995 and
underwent restructuring and a refocusing of priorities. It is responsible to the
Federal Department of Public Economy and formulates and implements national
tourism policy. Switzerland’s maturity as a destination is reflected in the long tradition of tourist associations and information services at local and regional levels.
There are also many specialist organizations such as the Swiss Travel Bank that was
founded to give less privileged workers the chance to go on holiday.
The most popular area is the Alpine zone, attracting over half of all visitor arrivals.
Here lie the majestic snow-capped peaks, glaciated valleys and winter sports developments that are Switzerland’s trademark. However, tourist development has
The tourism geography of Austria, Germany and Switzerland 185
placed pressures upon the society and environment of the area and the integration
of tourism into the agricultural and forest economies has needed sensitive handling.
Each of the Swiss cantons has its own range of attractions, but several major
tourist areas stand out.
The Bernese Oberland The most spectacular Alpine scenery is found here, south
of the lake resort of Interlaken. An excellent network of funicular railways and cableways provides access to the snowfields and glaciers, the most famous ascending the
slopes of the Jungfrau and Eiger. At Lauterbrunnen there is a classic example of a
glaciated valley with spectacular waterfalls. Long popular with British tourists, the
area preserves Swiss rural traditions and at the same time has some of the most
sophisticated ski resorts in Europe, notably Gstaad, Wengen and Grindelwald.
The Valais This includes the upper Rhone valley as far as the Simplon Pass and
a number of small historic towns. The most well-known resort is Zermatt, with its
views of the Matterhorn, but the most popular ski area is Crans-Montana, where
considerable development has taken place.
Lake Lucerne and the Forest Cantons The fjord-like Lake Lucerne is arguably
the most beautiful body of inland water in Europe. The cantons around it, especially Schwyz, are historically important as the cradle of Swiss independence.
Lucerne is a picturesque city, famous for its medieval Chapel Bridge.
The Grisons In some respects this is the most traditional part of Switzerland. In
the villages of the Engadine Valley the Romansch language is still spoken and a
pastoral type of rural economy persists, protected by government subsidy. This
canton also contains the Swiss National Park where endangered alpine species
such as the chamois are protected. In contrast are the number of spas and ski
resorts catering mainly for wealthy tourists, the most famous being St Moritz,
Davos and Klosters.
Lake Geneva This French-speaking area attracts a wealthy international clientele to its schools, the festival resort of Montreux and the shopping and nightlife
of Geneva. This city’s role as a United Nations centre is showcased by the Palais
The Ticino The Italian-speaking Ticino enjoys the warmest climate in Switzerland
due to its sheltered location and the moderating effect of Lakes Lugano and
Maggiore. The landscape has Mediterranean features such as palm trees, lemon
orchards and colourful towns and villages. Travellers from northern Europe appreciate the contrast most in early spring, when they emerge from the cold and gloomy
weather prevailing north of the St Gotthard into the warm sunshine of the Ticino
Valley. Locarno, Lugano and Ascona are important holiday resorts and major conference venues.
The Mittelland Most of the Swiss population lives outside the Alps in the
plateau region to the north and west, and the important industries are located in
the Basle–Winterthur–Zurich triangle. Basle on the Rhine has a historic university
and is a major cultural centre, while Zurich contains the Swiss National Museum,
but Berne is probably the most interesting city from a tourist viewpoint. The
picturesque old town, with its medieval shopping arcades and Clock Tower, is a
World Heritage Site.
The Jura The western boundary of Switzerland lies along the forested Jura
Mountains. Less spectacular than the Alps, this region accounts for only a small
percentage of tourist overnights. The small towns of the region, such as Les Chaux
de Fonds, are noted for traditional Swiss crafts such as watchmaking.
186 Worldwide Destinations
Unlike Austria or Switzerland, Germany lacks a well-defined tourism image, with
many people regarding it as a destination for business rather than holiday travel.
This is not surprising as Germany is the world’s third largest economy. Yet the
country is well endowed with a variety of beautiful scenery and cultural attractions,
particularly those based on music and the applied arts and sciences. The Cold War
political division of Germany between East and West has tended to obscure the
long-standing physical and cultural differences between the Protestant northern
part of the country and the predominantly Catholic south and west. Regional differences are also a legacy of the time, prior to the nineteenth century, when
Germany was a patchwork of small, virtually independent states forming part of
the so-called Holy Roman Empire. As a result Berlin has strong rivals in several
other major cities, which act as world class cultural and business centres.
The development of tourism in Germany has also been complicated by the fact
that from 1945 to 1990 the country was divided, along with the city of Berlin. The
two Germanies that resulted from this division had widely differing political and
economic structures, and a continuing legacy:
West Germany, officially known as the Federal Republic of Germany or BRD,
prospered under a democratic style of government and a free market economy.
East Germany, officially called the German Democratic Republic or DDR, was
compelled by its Soviet masters to adopt Communism and a centralized command economy. Tourist enterprises such as hotels were nationalized and the
whole industry was subject to state control. East Germans were discouraged from
visiting other countries, with the exception of those in the Eastern bloc, such as
Romania and Hungary. Visits from West Germans were virtually prohibited while
tourism from other Western countries was subject to many restrictions.
This structure changed rapidly after 1989 with the removal of the Berlin Wall and
the reunification of Germany a year later. This meant that Germany could offer a
range of new tourism products and domestic markets for tourism. For example,
there has been a flood of West German tourists into East Germany, attracted by the
low cost of accommodation. East Germans now have the freedom to travel abroad,
but it will be some time before they have the financial resources to do so in large
numbers. The economy of the former DDR was badly depressed because it was
based on industries that could not compete with foreign products without the protection of state subsidies, a pattern repeated in other countries of the former Eastern
bloc (see Chapter 18). The cost of reunification also contributed to the downturn in
the German economy as a whole after the late 1990s. The former West Germany
comprises 80 per cent of the population, and dominates both tourism supply and
demand in the new Germany.
Demand for tourism
The Germans have been amongst the world’s greatest spenders on travel and
tourism for many years and they attach great importance to their annual holiday, even
in times of recession. Generous holiday entitlement means that travel frequencies
The tourism geography of Austria, Germany and Switzerland 187
are high and holiday propensities reach almost 75 per cent, though this does vary
according to age, socioeconomic status and place of residence. Residents of the
former East Germany also have high holiday propensities but these are still mainly
expressed in domestic trips. The domestic market accounts for the great majority of
bednights and so dominates the industry. Domestic holidays are particularly concentrated into the summer months and in the south of Germany and on the coast.
Business travel is important in the domestic market. Germans are very healthconscious and over 200 spa resorts based on abundant mineral springs have long
been developed to meet this demand. These cater for a wide cross-section of the
population, and have been supported by generous state-sponsored health insurance
schemes. Most spas are located in the uplands of the Mittelgebirge in the central
part of the country. Hiking is popular and Germany was the first country to provide
a nationwide network of youth hostels. Since the 1980s there has been considerable
investment in theme parks and other purpose-built visitor attractions, such as
the Bremen Space Centre.
Germany was for many years the most important generator of international tourists
in the world until the 1990s, when it was overtaken by the USA. Around two-thirds
of all holidays are taken abroad, and the majority of trips are to Mediterranean
countries (particularly Italy and Spain) and to neighbouring Austria. Many trips are
package tours sold by the highly organized travel industry that has grown up to
meet the demand for holidays abroad. Spain is by far the most important package
holiday destination; Germans take roughly the same number of holidays in Spain as
the British, but they are much more likely to take a second holiday in their own
country. Long-haul travel is also important to a wide range of destinations.
The high volume of travel abroad keeps Germany’s travel account in considerable
deficit, even though in the early years of the twenty-first century there were around
18 million arrivals. The main countries of origin are Germany’s neighbours – now
more numerous as a result of reunification – and excursionists form a significant
tourism flow into Germany. Generally, average lengths of stay are short – around
two days – and this does mean that foreign visitors contribute only a small percentage
of the bednights in the country. Business travel is important in the inbound market,
exceeding the volume of holiday traffic from abroad.
Supply of tourism
The car is the most important form of tourist transport. The road network is excellent with autobahns (high-speed motorways) and also specially designed scenic
routes for visitors. A major problem is seasonal congestion both en route to, and in,
the popular holiday areas. Rail travel is the second most popular form of travel, with
promotional fares and inclusive package holidays available; plans for a high-speed
train network (ICE) are well advanced. The larger cities have a fully integrated
public transport system of trams, buses, ‘U’ Bahn (underground), and ‘S’ Bahn (fast
188 Worldwide Destinations
Air travel is served by ten international airports, all well connected by rail with
the urban areas they serve. The national carrier, Lufthansa, is based at the main gateway and hub at Frankfurt. Tourists arriving by sea can use ferries from Harwich to
Hamburg, from Trelleborg in Sweden to Sassnitz, and from Roby Havn in Denmark
to Puttgarten. Cruises are also popular on the Rhine and the other major rivers, the
canals that link these natural waterways and on the Boden See (Lake Constance).
Domestic business travellers and most foreign visitors are accommodated in hotels
in towns and cities. Demand for self-catering accommodation exceeds supply, as
does that for most types of accommodation in the peak season. There is a concentration of hotels and guesthouses serving the holiday market in Bavaria and BadenWürttemburg, and a shortage of accommodation throughout most of the former
DDR, although many hotel chains are now developing properties in this part of
Germany. Holiday parks (groups of chalets around a pool and other leisure facilities)
are popular with German families.
Tourism in Germany suffers from a long history of having no representation at
senior level in the federal government. Tourism responsibilities are in the hands of
the länder (states) who have considerable independence to promote and develop
tourism but this does result in considerable fragmentation. There is, for example, no
national tourism policy as tourism is low on the list of government economic priorities and little federal aid is available for the industry; this is mainly used to boost
accommodation in less-developed areas and to stimulate farm tourism. The states
provide funds for both upgrading accommodation and for season-extension developments (such as indoor swimming pools) in resorts.
The German National Tourist Board (Deutsche Zentrale für Tourismus – DZT) is
the major marketing agency for Germany, with responsibilities for both domestic
and international promotion. It is mainly financed by the federal government and
aims to boost visitor arrivals and revenue, and to reposition Germany as a multifaceted, attractive destination.
Each of the sixteen länder has a historical identity, but they vary greatly in size and
tourism potential. For example the Saarland and Schleswig–Holstein compare
unfavourably with Bavaria’s scenic variety. Germany’s cities on the other hand
have world-class facilities for music and the performing arts. These will become
more prominent in the tourism sector, as the generous state subsidies to cultural
institutions have been scaled down owing to the stagnation of the economy.
This region includes the states of Schleswig–Holstein, Lower Saxony, Hamburg,
Bremen, along with Mecklenburg–West Pomerania in the former DDR. In this part
of Germany the main tourist attractions are found on or near the coast. Inland, there
are large areas of forest, heathland, and lakes – such as those of Holstein and
Mecklenburg, providing some variety in the otherwise featureless expanse of the
North European Plain. The North Sea is colder and rougher than the Baltic, and the