In 2020, Berlin recorded only a third of the previous year’s visitor numbers in the city due to the Corona pandemic. According to the Berlin-Brandenburg Statistics Office, 4.9 million guests spent around 12.3 million nights (-64%) in Berlin’s tourist establishments during the year. Compared to the record year 2019, in which an incredible 14 million tourists came to the city, the number of visitors has decreased by almost 65 percent.
The number of guests in Berlin dropped to the same level as in 2001, with German visitors accounting for about 70% of overnight stays, while 30% were international guests, including mainly British, Dutch, and Spanish visitors. The number of guests from Great Britain, the Netherlands, the USA, Spain, and Italy has decreased by 76.5 percent – more than three quarters – to 1.3 million. Their overnight stays have fallen by 76 percent to 3.7 million.
After a promising start of the year in January and February, the first lockdown followed from March 22 to May 25, 2020. During the summer months, hotels were able to achieve more than 47% of the number of overnight stays in 2019. In 2020, Berlin’s tourism attractions came in at about 40% of the previous year’s guest traffic – according to the Visitor Insight market research tool.
Preparations for Restart
Ramona Pop, Senator for Economic Affairs, Energy and Operations, says: “The Corona crisis hit tourism and the convention industry with full force. We reacted quickly with strong efforts to support the industry with various funding instruments and assistance measures. We all long for the day when Berlin will be alive again as a cosmopolitan metropolis. We are preparing for that day together with Visit Berlin to give tourism a good start as it ramps up again.”
Burkhard Kieker, managing director of Berlin’s tourism marketing company Visit Berlin pointed out: “Corona has given tourism, gastronomy, trade fairs and congresses in Berlin a strong lift and at the same time it has shown how important the industry is for the economy and culture of our city. Together with the Senate Department for Economics, Energy and Operations, we made everything possible in 2020, from introducing hygiene concepts for events, offering museums and attractions to set up time slot tickets, to short-term marketing campaigns. We expect catch-up effects for Berlin when traveling is possible again. We are already preparing for this phase, together with the Senate and the industry.”
One-third of Germans Want to Travel to Berlin Again
A recent study by the German Institute for Tourism Research (DEST 2020) on travel behavior shows that around 33% of Germans would like to travel to Berlin in the next twelve months. What is important to them is compliance with hygiene and distance rules, cancellation conditions, and honest communication by the accommodations and the travel destination. 63% want to travel by car.
For tourists and Berliners, the reopening of the New National Gallery, the Humboldt Forum, opening of the Anoha Children’s World in the Jewish Museum, the Long Night of the Sciences and a high-speed sightseeing tour on the extended U5 subway line are all on the agenda in 2021.