It has been known for some time that the Corona pandemic is hitting the tourism industry particularly hard. Now there are also concrete figures for Münsterland: a study by dwif-Consulting GmbH on tourism as an economic factor in 2019 and 2020 proves the high losses. "The year-on-year comparison shows that the tourism industry in Münsterland had to cope with a decline in turnover in day and overnight tourism totalling 570 million euros in 2020," summarises Michael Kösters, head of tourism at the regional management organisation Münsterland e.V., which commissioned the study. "That is around eleven million euros per week. If you consider that about the first ten weeks in 2020 before the lockdown were still 'normal', the weekly loss thereafter is even higher."
The importance of tourism as an economic factor in Münsterland can be seen in the total turnover: "In 2019, the gross tourism turnover was an astonishing 1.944 billion euros," says Kösters. "According to the DWIF, we were able to record a good seven million overnight stays, six million visits by relatives, friends and acquaintances and 47 million day trips in Münsterland. In 2020, gross turnover fell rapidly to 1.373 billion euros. That is a slump of almost 30 per cent."
According to the study, the loss is not only made up of the missing overnight stays - retail and gastronomy also play a role. Kösters: "Tourism is a so-called cross-sectoral industry with manifold interconnections to other economic sectors. Because guests not only stay overnight, they also shop, go out to eat, to museums or use public transport or taxis. According to the study, the biggest profiteer of tourism-related turnover in 2019 was the hospitality industry, in 2020 it was retail, which was mainly due to the higher share of day trips compared to 2019." However, the retail trade is naturally much less dependent on tourism than the hospitality industry.
Kösters is only cautiously optimistic for 2021: "Although there are signs of good growth for the summer months compared to 2020, the figures are still significantly below the level of 2019. The tourism industry, especially the travel of tourists from abroad to Münsterland and business tourism will still take a very long time to recover from the Corona pandemic. In addition, many things will change, especially in trade fair, conference and congress tourism. In this respect, business tourism as a whole will also have a very hard time getting back to the level it was at before the Corona crisis began."
Also and especially from an economic point of view, it is therefore important to focus even more on the tourism strengths of the region and to emphasise the importance of tourism to other areas as well. Kösters: "Tourism is tied to the location and cannot be outsourced to other regions and countries. The tourism and hospitality industry contributes to considerable turnover, creates jobs and is ultimately also very important for an intact town and village life with many positive locational effects. In this respect, it is not only the businesses themselves that have to make a lot of effort - interest groups, institutions and sponsors also have to do their utmost to help tourism in Münsterland get back on its feet quickly." Against this background, a good sign is the significantly increased demand in the summer months in the leisure sector, i.e. outside of business tourism, not only for self-sufficient forms of accommodation such as holiday flats, mobile homes or camping, but also in hotels, especially in rural areas.
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