Destination Ranking

German tourists head for Northern Europe

Latvia, Iceland and Ireland are the top growth destinations in Northern Europe since 2013
Latvia, Iceland and Ireland are the top growth destinations in Northern Europe since 2013

All destinations in Northern Europe apart from the UK and Iceland attracted more German visitors last year, according to the fvw Destination Ranking 2019.

The regional boom seen over the last few years continued in most destinations in 2018 thanks to a unique mix of nature and outdoor activities, interesting cities and cultural heritage.

The Nordic countries were again among the clear winners on the German market. The biggest destination, Denmark, saw a solid 2.8% rise to 15.5 million overnight stays, mostly in holiday accommodation on the coast. Similarly, Sweden, Norway and Finland each generated healthy rises in German visitor numbers or volume of overnight stays.

The big exception was Iceland which saw an 11% drop in the number of German arrivals last year after several years of high double-digit growth rates. The main reasons are higher prices and overcrowding in some parts of the small island.

The three Baltic states remain special cases on the tourism map due to their German cultural heritage which draws many visitors on trips to discover family roots. Lithuania and Estonia, for example, respectively welcomed 21% and 14% more German tourists last year, while Latvia has registered an 84% increase over the last five years.

With a 4% drop, the UK was the only other destination in Northern Europe to accommodate fewer German visitors in 2018. After several years of solid growth and with international visitor numbers also tumbling by 8% last year, many experts believe these figures are a clear sign of tourists avoiding the country due to Brexit.

Ireland looks to have profited in tourism terms from Britain’s political disputes. The number of German visitors went up by 20% to a new record level last year, which represented a 70% increase over the last five years.

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