Cologne, February 26, 2021
- Sharp downturn of visitor numbers due to the coronavirus pandemic
- 1.44 million arrivals (-62.3 per cent), 2.56 million overnight stays (-61.1 per cent)
- Dramatic situation of the tourism and event sector in Cologne
- Interim high: Busy summer months thanks to the #inKöllezeHus campaign
- Cologne Tourist Board: Future-oriented reorganization is proceeding apace
The tourism business in Cologne was hard-hit in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic. The State Statistical Office of North Rhine-Westphalia, IT.NRW, registered 1.44 million arrivals and 2.56 million overnight stays in the cathedral city. These numbers represent a decrease of 62.3 per cent for registered arrivals in Cologne’s hotels and 61.1 per cent for overnight stays.
“The downturn in tourism has been drastic, and its effects on the entire sector have been extreme. Nonetheless, things could have turned out even worse for Cologne,” says Dr Jürgen Amann, CEO of the Cologne Tourist Board, as he assesses the situation. “During the first lockdown, we acted immediately to ensure that people continue to be aware of Cologne and us, and we worked together with the city authorities to launch the recovery campaign #inKöllezeHus (feel at home in Cologne),” he added. “This effort paid off when the restrictions were loosened during the summer months. We were able to attract many leisure visitors from nearby markets to our metropolis on the Rhine. We will continue this policy in 2021. We’ve planned many activities that will fill people with enthusiasm about Cologne.”
After getting off to a very good start into 2020 and having the best February of all time, tourism came to a complete halt in Cologne because of the worldwide travel restrictions imposed in response to the coronavirus pandemic and the two lockdowns in March/April and November/December. These measures had dramatic long-term effects on the travel and event business in Cologne, which employs more than 30,000 men and women. The step-by-step opening during the four summer months livened up business and brought us an interim high.
Nonetheless, the trade fair and convention business that is so important for Cologne, along with a large proportion of business-related tourism, was at an almost complete standstill. In addition, because of the restrictions tourists from international source markets were generally not able to travel. This led to a structural change in the visitor mix, with an increase in leisure visitors from the German market, as well as the positive side effect of longer stays averaging 1.8 days.