The future of tourism in the state capital was the topic of this year’s Day of Tourism. Around 400 guests from the worlds of tourism, the economy and culture accepted the invitation from the Munich Tourist Board to attend a conference in the Kesselhaus (“Boiler House”) and the Kohlebunker (“Coal Bunker”) in the Freimann district of Munich. Led by Geraldine Knudson from the Munich Tourist Board, a committee of experts discussed approaches to facilitate future-proof and sustainable management of the travel destination of Munich and what role digitalisation can play in bringing this about.
The hostess, Arantxa Dörrié, Managing Director of Freimann Event Betriebs GmbH, welcomed the guests. She presented the concept of Motorworld München (“Motor World Munich”) which is set to open at the beginning of 2020 in the former Dampflokrichthalle (“steam locomotive hangar”) in the Freimann district of Munich. The Motorworld exhibition will also include the Zenith event halls as well as the Kesselhaus and Kohlebunker, which provided the setting for the 2018 Day of Tourism.
The welcoming address to the 2018 Day of Tourism was given by Kurt Kapp, Acting Director of the Department for Labour and the Economy of the state capital of Munich. In his short speech, he discussed tourism in the overall context of economic policy, stating that the consequences of rapid economic growth were being felt more and more keenly all over the world, coming to light particularly in tourism. Without the willingness of the citizens of the city to buy into tourism, it will not be possible to sustain a successful tourism industry in the long term. Kapp advocated making use of new tools and objectives to reconcile economic success and the quality of life in Munich. He invited the guests of the Day of Tourism to participate in the discourse about the future.
At the 2018 Day of Tourism, these discussions were opened by Geraldine Knudson with her presentation (download here as a PDF file) of current key data regarding the development of tourism in Munich over the past few months. Munich has been able to further extend its position in the line-up of the most sought-after ten centres of tourism in Europe in 2018 and is currently in position eight ahead of Vienna and Amsterdam. The balance sheets indicate above-average growth in arrivals and overnight stays. In comparison with previous years, there was not one month in 2018 with less than 1 million overnight stays.
“Tourism should never conflict with life in the city. That's why our highest priority is to guarantee the well-being of the society of our city.”
However according to Knudson, the ever improving tourism figures should not tempt people to overlook possible signs of “overtourism”. She went on to say that the above-average growth, which was also reflected in increasing private accommodation bookings, would have to be monitored closely. Tourism should never conflict with life in the city. “We consider it our duty, much more so than before, to ensure that these two elements co-exist harmoniously,” emphasised Knudson, “further growth must not be sought without optimising the visitor’s journey from beginning to end. Our highest priority is to guarantee the well-being of the society of our city.”
According to Knudson, making the move away from pure tourism marketing to tourism management is the order of the day. The Munich population is currently exhibiting a very high degree of buy-in to the concept of tourism. Accordingly, the panellists also advised adopting a relaxed but at the same time multi-layered approach when embarking on planning a future-proof tourism operation.
On the podium Knudson had discussions with Marc Frauenholz, CEO of HelloGuest Solutions GmbH, Professor Dr. Harald Pechlaner, from the Katholische Universität Eichstätt (“Catholic University of Eichstätt”), Monsignore Thomas Schlichting, graduate theologian and priest of the archdiocese of Munich and Freising and Professor Dr. Jürgen Schmude, Chair of Economic Geography and Tourism Research at the Department of Geography at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich).
The experts unanimously agreed that Munich was not yet affected or only intermittently affected by “overtourism”. The emergence of this phenomenon in other destinations was to be regarded primarily as an opportunity to strive at an early stage to develop a tailor-made strategy for Munich, while leveraging the options provided by digitalisation in a target-oriented manner. The panellists recommended comprehensive destination monitoring just as much as regarding the population much more favourably as stakeholders in tourism.
Putting an end to bids to promote tourism was not the order of the day. Instead achieving a high-quality tourism operation with a more variable temporal and geographical distribution was thought to be the way ahead. Above all, repeat visitors to the city should be given suggestions at an early stage as to how they can plan their trip off the beaten track. It was decided that the key to this was product development where particular attention should be given not only to optimising the customer journey in Munich but also to involving the areas surrounding Munich. At the get-together at the end of the day’s discussions, the guests used the opportunity to continue the discussion with colleagues from the industry sector.
The programme for the 2018 Day of Tourism also included the première of the new commercial for Munich entitled “Club of Cool Cities”: the production was brought to fruition by students from the Hochschule für Fernsehen und Film München (University of TV and Film Studies Munich”) in summer 2018. Danilo Pejakovic, who had produced the film together with Lukas Schwarz-Danner, fielded questions from the public at the première.