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Tourism figures in 2013: Cologne maintains its good position — Record number of foreign visitors

March 3, 2014 Destination Global No Comments Email Email

Tourism remained at a very high level in Cologne in 2013. Altogether, 2.96 million hotel guests came to Cologne last year for a total of 5.08 million overnight stays.

Compared to the previous year, this represents an increase of 1.7 per cent in terms of guest arrivals, but a very slight decrease of 0.1 per cent in terms of overnight stays. Particularly noteworthy is the great increase in the number of foreign guests, who accounted for 6.7 per cent more arrivals and 2.9 per cent more overnight stays.

Even though the number of overnight stays is currently stagnating at a high level, it is becoming clear that Cologne has recovered very well from the recent recession. The number of international arrivals has risen by 42 per cent since 2009, and the number of overnight stays by foreign guests has increased by 33.2 per cent. “Cologne has become much more attractive internationally, as demonstrated by the development of its tourism sector over the past four years,” says Elisabeth Thelen, Chairwoman of the Supervisory Board of Cologne Tourist Board. “Cologne has also maintained its ranking of 24th among Europe’s 100 most popular city travel destinations and is a very attractive leisure and business destination.”

“Our strategic focus on the international markets is paying off. We recorded over 480,000 overnight stays last October, making it the best month in the history of Cologne tourism. This was primarily due to the strong ANUGA trade fair,” says Josef Sommer, Managing Director of Cologne Tourist Board. “The high bed occupancy rate despite increased room prices show that people consider Cologne a high-quality destination.”

Source market results in 2013

In 2013 a total of 963,131 visitors (plus 6.7 per cent) came to Cologne from abroad, generating 1.78 million overnight stays (plus 2.9 per cent). The foreign visitors accounted for 35.1 per cent of the total number of guests in Cologne. A total of 2 million guests came from Germany (minus 0.5 per cent), generating 3.3 million overnight stays (minus 1.7 per cent). The decline in the German results is due in part to the lack of musical performances and the drop in the German guests’ length of stay from 1.7 days to 1.6 days.

Guests from the UK (210,622), the Netherlands (161,292) and the USA (158,342) once again accounted for the largest number of overnight stays from abroad. At 96,881 overnight stays, Italy rose two places in the ranking of the guests’ country of origin, relegating Belgium (92,134) and France (89,700) to sixth and seventh place, respectively.

The increase in the number of guests from abroad is significant. Never before have there been as many arrivals from the following 11 markets as last year: USA, China, Brazil, Japan, India, United Arab Emirates, Russia, Ukraine, France, Switzerland and Austria.

Congress and conference market / new venues

According to the latest results of the TagungsBarometer Köln study, 45,570 events were held in Cologne last year, attracting a total of 3.56 million participants.

Europäisches Institut für Tagungswirtschaft GmbH (EITW) has been conducting the study on behalf of the Cologne Convention Bureau every year since 2009.

Compared to 2012, the results represent an increase of 1.1 per cent in terms of the number of events and 5.2 per cent in terms of the number of participants. In 2013 Cologne had a total of 166 conference and event venues, of which 20 were event centres, 55 were conference hotels and 91 were event locations.

Commercial businesses accounted for 71 per cent of all the events in Cologne, and the remaining 29 per cent were events staged by non-profit organizations. A comparison of the most important business sectors shows that banks and insurance companies have once again surpassed the medical sector and returned to the top position they last held in 2011. The communications industry ranks third. The leisure industry, encompassing sports and tourism, climbed three places to rank fourth. In the non-profit sector, private and community organizers improved their position, relegating the previously dominant business associations to third place. The most important source market for Cologne’s congress and conference business is still clearly the UK, followed by the USA and the Netherlands, which tied in second place. The USA climbed two places compared to its standing in the previous year, after having already risen four places in 2012. Gains were also posted by Belgium and France.

The number of event venues in Cologne will increase in the summer of 2014, when the Flora reopens. Moreover, the opening of the new Motel One at the Mediapark and the new Courtyard by Marriott will create additional attractive accommodation in the hotel market in Cologne’s downtown area.

Development of tourism: Trends and opportunities for Cologne

In 2014 the Cologne Tourist Board will once again present an internationally focused action plan, which aims to target more than 20 source markets. Special marketing partnerships will be formed with Germanwings, Deutsche Bahn, Österreichische Bundesbahnen (ÖBB), Thalys and major German travel agents. For example, the cover of the latest DERTOUR summer catalogue for city tours shows a picture of Cologne’s Rhine panorama.

River cruises are a tourism trend that will continue to benefit Cologne. The guests who come to the city in this way aren’t officially registered.

According to the Cologne Tourist Board, a new musical theatre would generate great additional potential for Cologne; in particular, it would attract leisure-oriented guests from Germany to the city. The planned casino could be another means of attracting guests to Cologne and increasing their length of stay. With regard to the business sector, the Cologne Tourist Board and the Cologne Convention Bureau continue to call for the construction of a new large-scale convention centre whose largest hall would accommodate between 2,000 and 5,000 people.

Main theme for 2014 and 2015: “Holy Cologne”

“Holy Cologne” is the main theme of the Cologne Tourist Board’s marketing activities in 2014 and 2015. The theme was chosen to commemorate the 850th anniversary of the translation of the relics of the Three Wise Men to Cologne. It also supports the UNESCO World Heritage Site theme of the German National Tourist Board (DZT) and takes advantage of the resulting synergies.

Several exhibitions will showcase Cologne Cathedral as the centre of the veneration of the Three Wise Men in Europe. The cathedral’s Hubertus Chapel and Treasure Chamber will highlight the cult of the Three Wise Men from a historical and art historical perspective (23 July 2014 to 15 January 2015). From 25 October 2014 to 25 January 2015, the Three Wise Men will also be the topic of an exhibition at the Museum Schnütgen (“The Magi. Legend, Art and Cult”). In addition, the Wallraf Richartz Museum & Foundation Corboud will be presenting an exhibition titled “The Cathedral. Romanticism — Impressionism — Modernism” from 26 September 2014 to 18 January 2015. Until August 2014, visitors to the archdiocesan art museum Kolumba can enjoy the annual exhibition, which is titled “show cover hide. Shrine” and addresses a key topic in the history of Western art and culture.

Special travel offers and guided tours focusing on the year’s main theme are available to tourists. These offers will portray Cologne not only as a centre of Catholicism but also as a city that is open to the world and is the home of many religious communities and a multifaceted culture.

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