Huge study shows power of caravan and motorhome market in Germany

Germany’s Institute of Economic Research for Tourism (dwif) has revealed the economic power of the caravanning and leisure vehicle industry in the country after undertaking one of the most comprehensive studies ever on the subject.

The headline finding of the study was that the leisure vehicle tourism market has been vital to the German economy over the last two years, bringing an estimated €14.1 billion in turnover. This was achieved despite the initial tourism standstill at the start of the pandemic. German motor caravan pitches recorded an impressive 10 million overnight stays in 2020 – an increase of more than 50 per cent for this kind of stay in the total number of overnight stays in Germany.

Share of motor caravan overnight stays in total number of all tourist overnight stays

Regional focus

To get a better picture of the impact the caravanning industry has had in Germany, the dwif analysed things at a district and regional level with regard to demand for pitches. Top of the tree with the highest turnover was Moselle and Saar (€23.2 million), followed by the Baltic Sea (€16.1 million), then the Lower Rhine (€14.4 million), the Lüneburg Heath (€12.9 million) and finally the central Black Forest (€11.7 million).

As well as revenue, the study examined the areas where motor caravan overnight stays were the highest proportionally in the total number of overnight tourist stays. The leaders here were Lower Elbe Lower Weser (23.4 per cent), Hassberge (22.6 per cent), Middle Weser (18.0 per cent), Franconian Lake District (16.2 per cent), Werra-Meißner Land (14.9 per cent), Franconian Wine Country (13.1 per cent), Moselle/Saar (13.0 per cent), Thuringian Rhön (12.7 per cent). Many of these regions are not especially developed or well-known as tourism heartlands, which shows that caravanning brings tourism money to places that don’t normally get it.

Turnover achieved with motor caravan tourism in German destinations

The why

One of the aims of the study was so that the findings could be used to help municipal and private investors in their decision making for the future. Good data equates to a better chance of people investing in an industry.

Thomas Bareiß, member of the German Bundestag and Federal Government Commissioner for Tourism, said: “Innovations and targeted investments are required for the successful development of the camping industry in the future. For decision-makers in politics and business, it is important to set the right course - this study provides valuable insights for this.”

Meanwhile, Danierl Onggowinarso, managing director of the German Caravanning Industry Association, added: “Caravanning has proven to be a resilient form of holiday during the pandemic. In order for it to remain a strong economic driver, politics is called upon: The holiday form must be taken into account in the national tourism strategy and the framework conditions for it must be improved. In concrete terms, this means expanding the infrastructure. Here, targeted funding programmes and the reduction of bureaucratic hurdles can provide decisive impulses. This strengthens Germany as a tourism location.”

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