As the number of migrants requesting asylum in Germany rises on last year’s figure, the country’s tourism industry is suffering. July saw 74,545 people make applications for asylum in Germany, according to the Ministry of the Interior, almost double last year’s figure for the month.
The ministry noted recording the migrants’ main countries of origin as being Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, and Pakistan.
Germany’s tourist hotspots reported that business have been hit as a result of travelers’ fearing pickpockets, terror attacks, and sex assaults if they visit.
Heidelberg’s marketing director Steffen Schmid reported that significantly fewer tourists are visiting the popular getaway city than traveled last year. Compared to May 2015, the number of tourists from Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan declined by 40 per cent. There was also a 10 per cent drop in the number of U.S. visitors from last year.
Mr. Schmid attributed the slump to the fear of terrorism which, he said, helped him decide to focus the city’s marketing efforts in future on attracting German and other European visitors. Tourism is among the historic destination’s largest sources of income.
The arrival of more than a million mostly Arab migrants to Germany last year caused disturbances to tourism even before the country was hit by a string of terror attacks last month.
Following mass sex attacks in Cologne on New Year’s Eve, in which migrants sexually assaulted over 1,000 women, the city saw a significant slump in visitor numbers despite February being carnival month.
A spokeswoman reported an almost 10 per cent drop in foreign visitors to Cologne and said that the public had been reluctant to book spontaneous trips there after the attacks damaged the city’s image. At the festival itself, sex offence complaints quadrupled from the previous year.
There are some signs suggesting that Germany has begun to tighten its borders, however. Compared to the number of migrants rejected entry to the country during 2015, Germany has denied access to 50 per cent more in the first half of 2016 already.