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Munich Boosts Germany’s Tourism Industry With Visitors From The Gulf

Medicine and Retail are key factors drawing in visitors from the GCC

May 05th, 2015

Alice White - Munich, thanks to the city’s medical facilities and array of luxury boutiques, has seen Germany surpass other powerful European cities, in particular Britain and France, to become the top destination of choice for tourists from the Gulf States, according to data from Germany’s DZT tourist board. Munich’s heritage as a richly artistic, well designed and open city has been effectively nurtured by a succession of politicians, and increasingly from institutions beyond the political class.

Arab guests spent 1.5 million nights in Germany in 2013, and the board forecasts the total will top 2 million by 2020. More than a third of the Arab visitors went to Munich. On a 750-metre stretch of Maximilianstrasse, affluent shoppers can frequent luxury stores ranging from Louis Vuitton to Cartier. Guests from the Middle East spend an average of $376 a day in Munich, four times more than other foreigners, according to a study by retail consultants BBE.

While guests from the region used to come mostly in August, when temperatures in the Gulf typically exceed 40 degrees Celsius, they now come year-round, according to Rifka Aboudi, who manages Arab guest relations at the hotel, where Munich’s annual security conference takes place. Not only do Middle Eastern guests tend to spend more, they also stay longer. Woltering said that while a typical European visitor might spend two or three nights, those from the Gulf often stay for weeks.

Munich is home to hundreds of clinics, specialists and hospitals treating the full spectrum of medical conditions. German hospitals and clinics welcomed 35 per cent more patients from abroad in 2013 compared with 5 years earlier, according to estimates from Jens Juszczak, a scientific staff member at Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University specializing in medical tourism. He estimates their combined annual medical bill is worth 1.1 billion euros, securing Germany a top spot in medical tourism rankings worldwide. That, coupled with Munich’s clean streets and safe environment, sets the city apart from European rivals.

Munich is one of the most dynamic medium-sized urban economies in Europe. The city is Germany’s most productive urban centre and remains firmly among the 50 most connected cities in global economic networks. It has a highly diversified and high-performing economic base, with vibrant clusters in financial, advanced manufacturing, ICT and media sectors. The city inherits outstanding infrastructure systems, technological and innovative capacity, and quality of life that has global appeal.


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