Country Listing

Germany Table of Contents



Germany is a principal attraction for foreign tourists, and the Germans themselves are among the world's most enthusiastic tourists. Although Germany attracts millions of foreign tourists, German tourists every year spend tens of billions of deutsche marks more than foreign tourists spend in Germany. In fact, tourism constitutes a major drain on German foreign exchange.

The areas that attract the most tourists to Germany are the Alps, the Rhine and Moselle valleys, and several large cities, especially Berlin. But those are not the only attractions. Music festivals such as those at Bayreuth and Munich draw many tourists. So do some of the old German medieval cities like Rothenburg ob der Tauber and Dinkelsbühl. Because of the wealth of hiking and bicycle trails, many tourists come to the Black Forest and to other German woodlands and mountains. Since unification, tourists have increasingly visited the former East German states and especially the Baltic beaches and such cities as Leipzig and Dresden.

Unlike Austria or Spain, Germany does not regard tourism as a major source of foreign exchange. Hotel stays by foreign visitors to Germany do not rise above 15 percent of total occupancy, as opposed to the two-thirds levels that they reach in those countries. But as many as 1.5 million jobs in Germany are connected in one way or another to the tourist industry.

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The literature on the German economy is surprisingly limited, given its importance in Europe and the world as a whole. German economic unification produced a spate of books and articles, but most were out of date within months of publication. The most comprehensive current book in English is The German Economy by W.R. Smyser. Another survey is The German Economy by Eric Owen Smith.There are also some current books that deal with specialized topics, such as Banks, Finance, and Investment in Germany by Jeremy S.S. Edwards and Klaus Fischer. The Bundesbank has attracted growing attention, with the most comprehensive work being The Bundesbank by David Marsh. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development publishes an annual OECD Economic Survey on Germany as well as a special section on Germany in its biannual OECD Economic Outlook .

There is, however, a rich literature about the specifics of the German economy. The German Council of Economic Experts (Sachverständigenrat zur Begutachtung der gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung) publishes an extensive annual review of the German economy in German, and the German economic institutes continually publish specialized papers in German and sometimes in English. The Bundesbank and the German Ministry for Economics publish monthly and annual reports that concentrate on financial and macroeconomic information but also provide a general economic roundup. The bank also publishes a dozen statistical annexes every month. Both publish their basic reports in English as well as in German. Other German ministries as well as the German Federal Press and Information Office provide large quantities of information on a regular basis, but much of it is in primary form and requires analysis. (For further information and complete citations, see Bibliography.)

Data as of August 1995