Tourists Bring More Than Half a Billion Euros to Heidelberg

Study shows: tourism is an important economic factor

Around 11.9 million tourists, approximately 1.12 million business-related overnight stays, 535 million Euros gross revenue, and more than 9000 jobs – a recent tourism study shows: Tourism is one of the most important economic factors for Heidelberg. dwif Consulting GmbH in Munich carried out the study. The consulting firm specializes in tourism studies and advises on numerous destinations across Germany. Hotels and restaurants (42.3 percent), retail (37.3 percent), and tourism-related service providers (20.4 percent) all benefit from tourism. With two-thirds of all overnight stays in the hotel industry, business travel also plays a very important role. On average, tourists in Heidelberg spend about 42 Euros per day per person – and for a total of 12.745 million travel days this adds up to total yearly gross sales of around 535.4 million Euros according to dwif.
“These numbers are very pleasing and clearly show how important tourism is as an economic factor. Many people are continually working to ensure that millions of visitors go home carrying a positive impression of our city with them. The reward: Heidelberg is well-known and very popular all over the world – as a romantic city and city of science,” according to Mayor Dr. Eckart Würzner.
“That is a powerful number – tourism has always played an important role in Heidelberg, but the fact that it brings in a half a billion Euros in total revenue each year is really impressive,” says Mike de Vries, CEO of Heidelberg Marketing GmbH, which is the company that commissioned the study. “What is especially encouraging is the great importance of business travel. Especially with the new conference center and the positioning of Heidelberg as a scientific city, this could hold great potential for the future of the city.”
De Vries also has a positive outlook for the development of overnight stay tourism. The numbers for overnight stays in Heidelberg have been increasing for years – but there is also some hidden potential: sofa tourism. More than 600,000 overnight stays currently take place in the private residences of local Heidelberg residents. “With special promotions and activities, the hotel industry can win over some of these guests for themselves – according to the study more than half of those surveyed would take the offer if it were attractive,” according to de Vries.

Overnight Stay Tourism
When it comes to the development of overnight stay tourism, Heidelberg is far above the country’s average. If you compare Heidelberg with similarly structured cities, Heidelberg has observed stronger growth than cites with a similar tourism industry, such as Aachen or Wurzburg. In 2012 – at the time of the study – the numbers for overnight stays with remuneration were at around 1.12 million overnight stays. Overnight stays have continued to increase ever since, reaching 1.22 million in 2014. At 84.8 percent, the Heidelberg hotel industry is the most important segment for overnight stay tourism – 950,000 overnight stays were registered here. According to the dwif study, overnight stay guests traveling on business spend more than 170 Euros per day – from an economic standpoint this is a very important factor for Heidelberg.

Business Travel
People traveling on business are the dominant guest group in the Heidelberg hotel industry. Almost two-thirds of overnight stays are business-related. Upon closer consideration, it becomes clear that in addition to business travelers there are also quite a few seminar, workshop, conference, and convention guests. The proportion of overnight stays by international business travelers amounts to around 35 percent.

Day Tourism
In analyses of tourism as an economic factor, day tourism is the most profitable segment. From an economic point of view, day guests make an important contribution to the overall yearly capacity utilization of infrastructure facilities such as restaurant and foodservice, retail, cultural establishments, and leisure time establishments. dwif-consulting determined that Heidelberg hosts day tourists for 11 million day trips (people taking a day trip or are there for the day on business). In almost all travel regions in Germany, the number of people taking day trips is higher than the number of officially registered overnight stays. With a ratio of 9.8 day trips per overnight stay, Heidelberg is in the lower third of comparable cities, a value that is very desirable according to general tourism guidelines. Only Freiburg (7.2), Rostock (6.2), and Koblenz (6.5) have lower ratios, and Osnabruck (33), Regensburg (19.2), and Wurzburg (16.1) are at the peak.

Sofa Tourism
The sofa tourism segment holds great potential for the Heidelberg hotel industry. 627,000 overnight stays currently take place in the private residences of local Heidelberg residents. Almost 29 percent come from abroad – something that underlines Heidelberg’s status as an international city. The overwhelming majority come from Baden-Württemberg (35 percent), the rest come from the other federal states. Half of all respondents would consider hosting their guests in a special lodging establishment in the future.

Tourism’s Added Value
Touristic demand yields 535.4 million Euros in gross revenue. The touristic income effects induced amount to 244.6 million Euros. From a purely mathematical standpoint, around 9,230 people make a living through tourism. The touristic contribution to tax revenue from tourism-related revenue for the country, states, and municipalities amounts to 58 million Euros per year.


Heidelberg Marketing

Contact Information
Anja Barlen-Herbig, Head of Communications
Tel: +49 6221 58 40 240