"Münsterland is the only region in NRW to record more overnight guest stays than before the outbreak of the Corona pandemic. This shows how strong and resilient the region is and that it has stabilised again incredibly quickly," sums up Michael Kösters, head of tourism at Münsterland e.V. He is talking about the 2022 tourism figures published this morning by Information und Technik Nordrhein-Westfalen (IT.NRW). According to the figures, overnight stays in the Münsterland travel region for 2022 increased by 1.7 per cent to 4,088,874 compared to 2019. All other NRW regions are still recording a minus in the single to double-digit percentage range.
Kösters says the speed with which Münsterland was able to pick up where it left off in 2019 was particularly pleasing: "When you consider that our overnight stays for the first quarter of 2022, when we were still in the midst of the pandemic, were significantly below the level of 2019, we are even more pleased with the figures," says Kösters. "So we have 'picked up' potential holidaymakers well." Although the number of guest arrivals for 2022 is 6.8 per cent below the level of 2019 at 1,637,004, "Our hosts in particular are pleased that guests are staying longer with an average of 2.6 days, compared to 2.3 days before the pandemic," Kösters explains.
According to the tourism expert, the reasons for the positive development are complex. In addition to the ongoing trend towards German tourism, he says, bed capacity in Münsterland has also increased - by 5.7 per cent in December 2022 compared to 2019 - especially due to hotel openings in Münster. In addition, Kösters also sees the development as a positive effect of the consistent development of the Münsterland regional brand with the claim THE GOOD LIFE and the associated continuous, theme- and target group-oriented marketing. "Together with the tourism stakeholders in the region, we have sharpened our profile in recent years and developed exciting holiday offers that are well received. Right at the forefront, of course, is the core and trendy theme of cycling, which, along with horse riding, picnics, visits to castles and palaces and other outdoor activities, has carried us through the Corona crisis," says Kösters.
And the Münsterland is well positioned in this respect: The new cycling hub system with star tours and circular routes, a wide range of themed routes and the whole thing in a flat to gently rolling, green Münsterland park landscape await tourists. Added to this are urban spaces with flair, such as the city of Münster or the numerous other medium-sized towns in Münsterland, which offer guests an urban-rural experience. "The effect of these factors and their combination is often underestimated - yet the cycle paths are the lifelines of the Münsterland destination in more ways than one," says Kösters.
The plan for the future: The positive development must be continued through ongoing investments in infrastructure, service, digitalisation, sustainability and marketing in order to maintain and expand the competitive position of Münsterland. Especially against the backdrop of rising costs - especially for the hotel and hospitality industry - and the general uncertainties and concerns of the population, the prospects for the development of holiday behaviour are difficult to predict. The shortage of skilled workers also continues to be a problem for the industry and business tourism has still not fully recovered.
Münsterland e.V. is therefore currently working with three partners and on behalf of the region to obtain funding from the EU and the state of North Rhine-Westphalia for the further development of tourism offers in Münsterland. After around 10 million euros flowed into the region in the past three years through the ERDF funding project "Münsterland Castles and Palaces Region", the existing potential is to be expanded in the future as well.
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