Hamburg hugely popular among German and international guests

A major boost for Hamburg: in 2016, Hamburg recorded a total of 6.6 million visitors and 13.3 million overnight stays. Compared with the previous year, this result corresponds to an increase of 5.5 percent or 692,000 overnight stays, respectively. For the 15th consecutive time, Hamburg has exceeded its previous year’s results. The average occupancy rate for the year 2016 amounted to 79.6 percent.




“The tourism sector is a complex global structure that is highly fragile in essence. In spite of difficult circumstances in world politics, the demand for Hamburg continues to be very stable and is growing at a healthy, constant rate. When looking at our competitive environment and the development in other European cities it becomes very clear that growth in tourism cannot be taken for granted,” said Andreas Rieckhof, State Secretary of Hamburg’s Ministry for Economic Affairs, Transport and Innovation. According to Mr. Rieckhof, Hamburg's tourism sector has once again proven to be a cornerstone of Hamburg as a business location while providing employment for more than 100,000 people.

With an increase of 5.5 percent – which corresponds to a total of 692,000 additional overnight stays compared with the preceding year – Hamburg is well above the growth rate of Germany as a destination (2.6 percent). Compared with other large cities in Germany, Hamburg records the strongest relative growth.

Michael Otremba, managing director of Hamburg Tourismus GmbH, sees exciting development prospects: “Last year, we were able to attract an additional 290,000 visitors to Hamburg when compared with the previous year. This has been facilitated by countless stories and pictures communicated by stakeholders from the tourism industry aimed at attracting new guests to Hamburg. And these guests share their experiences in person or through social media and are therefore the most authentic Hamburg ambassadors. What is more, visitors coming to Hamburg for a conference or a congress leave the city as important disseminators for their respective industry and may even return to Hamburg as part of a private trip. Together with our many partners in Hamburg’s tourism sector we are aiming to make even greater use of this communication potential.”

Mr Otremba believes that the opening of the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg has created an all-embracing pioneering spirit and an opportunity to anchor Hamburg as an integral player among leading European destinations. “When talking to airlines, shipping companies, tour operators and congress organisers, it becomes clear that, especially abroad, the Elbphilharmonie is opening doors and is putting Hamburg on the map. While we want to build on this momentum, we are also aware that we still have some homework to do on our way to becoming a renowned international top-class destination,” Mr Otremba added.


International demand continues to rise despite difficult conditions

The number of overnight stays by guests from abroad increased by 5.5 percent in 2016 and now stands at 3.3 million. The share of international guests in overnight stays thus amounts to 24.6 percent of all overnight stays.

In the course of 2016, some of Hamburg’s top ten foreign target markets recorded strong growth in the area of overnight stays. The majority of international overnight guests came from Denmark (396,000, an increase of 7.8 percent compared with the previous year). Switzerland came second, with 340,000 overnight stays, an increase of 10 percent. Despite a weak British pound caused by Brexit, demand from the UK showed a positive development with a growth rate of 8.5 percent. From among Hamburg’s top ten markets, only Austria recorded a slight decline of 1.8 percent in overnight stays.

Intercontinental markets such as the United States (+6 percent) and China (+30.7 percent) showed encouraging momentum. Demand from Russia, however, declined sharply for the fourth consecutive year, with a 7.8 percent decrease in overnight stays in 2016.

The various conflict and war zones as well as economic transformations worldwide have a direct impact on travel flows and make it difficult to predict future market developments for Hamburg and Germany as a destination.


Highest occupancy rate recorded in Hamburg’s hotels

Last year saw the opening of four new hotels with some 520 rooms. In 2016, the hotel occupancy rate in Hamburg amounted to 79.6 percent (+1.4 percent). Hamburg thus commands a leading position and is ahead of both Berlin (77.1 percent) and Munich (75.9 percent). Compared with the same period of the previous year, the average room rate rose by 5.2 percent to EUR 115, and the revenue per room (RevPAR) in Hamburg was EUR 92 (+ 6.7 percent). Hamburg thus continues to record a balanced growth of supply and demand.


Triad for successful development

A continuing positive investment climate in tourism-related projects and infrastructure as well as ensuring Hamburg’s accessibility and connectivity are the basis for the next development stage. In addition to boosting Hamburg’s international visibility and addressing the challenges of digitisation, Michael Otremba also sees public approval as an important focal area for marketing activities: “Not only are we aiming to portray tourism as an economic factor that generates more than EUR 6 billion of value added annually, but we also conduct regular polls to capture the sentiments of our local residents. Only a city that is in tune with the needs of their local residents will remain attractive to guests.” According to Mr Otremba, public approval is a factor to be accounted for also in the long run. Against this background, Hamburg Tourismus GmbH is actively engaged in exploring the perception of tourism among Hamburg residents. To date there have been three public surveys on this topic, and a fourth survey is currently being conducted.


A year full of exciting Hamburg stories

In addition to the first concert season of the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, one of this year’s highlights will include the international culture festival Theater der Welt (25 May to 11 June), which will be held in Hamburg for the first time since 1989. The Hamburg Cruise Days (8 to 10 September) with a new record attendance of participating cruise liners and the Blue Port Hamburg light installation will be generating powerful, emotional images from Hamburg. From 20 to 23 September, the Reeperbahn Festival will once again feature up-and-coming artists from Germany and abroad and lure countless music fans to Hamburg.

Also in the area of conferences and conventions, the year 2017 will be packed with top events, among them the Seatrade Europe 2017 Cruise & Rivercruise Convention – a major cruise industry event to be held parallel to the Hamburg Cruise Days festival. In March, the Online Marketing Rockstars trade fair and conference will be attracting some 25,000 participants, and May will see the congress of the German Diabetes Society. Another highlight will be the d3con, the world’s largest trade event in the area of programmatic advertising.

As many as 14 new hotels with a capacity of around 2,300 rooms will be opened in Hamburg in 2017, among them the Holiday Inn Hamburg in City Nord, the modern boutique hotel Sir Nikolai in Hamburg’s old town as well as the elegant luxury hotel The Fontenay on the Alster Lake.


Further statements on Hamburg’s tourism year 2017:

Michael Eggenschwiler, CEO of Hamburg Airport

“Hamburg Airport plays an important part in advancing Hamburg as a tourist destination. The number of international guests in Hamburg increases as new attractive flight connections are introduced. Last year, the number of incoming private travellers went up by 3.8 percentage points. Hamburg’s air links connect the city with other world regions and open up new markets, and this trend will continue. The Elbphilharmonie too plays an important role in raising Hamburg’s profile as a destination for cultural and urban tourists from far beyond the German-speaking world.”

Brigitte Engler, CEO of City Management Hamburg

“For the year 2017 we are expecting a positive development in the retail trade, since guests to Hamburg who are interested in culture tend to go shopping as well. In light of online shopping, it is important for retail locations to provide visitors with a high quality of service. Especially when it comes to renowned restaurants and cafés, we have experienced a real boost that continues to attract additional visitors to the city centre. And yet the next few years are going to be challenging as basic retail structures are changing due to broadening portfolios.”

Sacha Rougier, CEO of Cruise Gate Hamburg GmbH

“The cruise industry continues to boom, and will once again provide impressive figures for Hamburg: we are expecting some 200 ship arrivals and about 800,000 cruise passengers in 2017. Since the opening of the Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg is on the tip of everyone’s tongue – also abroad. The city is becoming ever more popular and is also attracting a growing number of international shipping companies. As terminal operators we are all geared up for the large number of ship arrivals expected. Our cruise terminals in Steinwerder, Altona and the HafenCity offer state-of-the-art technology and an infrastructure to ensure that all processes relating to arrival and departure run as smooth as possible for both shipping companies and passengers. Together with our colleagues from other segments of the city’s tourism sector we are constantly working on making Hamburg even more attractive as a cruise destination.”

Sebastian Drechsler, Press Officer of Miniatur Wunderland Hamburg:

“The first weeks of 2017 suggest that this is going to be an excellent year. We are hoping to achieve a new record attendance with more than 1,350,000 visitors. We are currently highly visible due to our new Italian section, our award as Germany’s number one tourist attraction, as well as our social campaign “Ich kann es mir nicht leisten”, so it is the second half of the year that is going to be


Media Contact Hamburg Tourist Board:

Sascha Albertsen I Head of Communication

Phone:   +49(0)40-300 51 111        



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