Armin Dellnitz, Managing Director of Stuttgart Marketing GmbH

Armin Dellnitz, Managing Director of Stuttgart Marketing GmbH (Photo: Thomas Niedermueller / www.niedermueller.de)

Stuttgart is an important destination in Germany, even if most of its tourism is rather domestic. In 2019, the last “normal” year for tourism, the city recorded 2.1 million travelers and 4.1 million overnight stays, 70% of which were generated by the domestic market. France generated just over 61,000 overnight stays in 2019, being the city’s seventh largest international market. In 2020, Stuttgart had a dark year like in the rest of Europe. The capital of Baden Württemberg recorded only 0.86 million tourists and 1.65 million overnight stays. A situation due in particular to the elimination of most fairs, exhibitions and conferences which constitute a good part of the reasons for the visit of travelers …

Do you think Stuttgart has every chance as a tourist destination in the post-covid world?

Armin Dellnitz – I am convinced that our tourism industry has a bright future, because I believe that we have the perfect product for the tourist of tomorrow. Of course, urban destinations suffer more than natural ones. The feeling of promiscuity with others, the slower recovery in business tourism explain the slowness of the recovery. I think, however, our position as big city surrounded by nature favors us. The atmosphere in Stuttgart is quite relaxed and this is an important factor in making our visitors feel at ease. Our other asset is an exceptional cultural offer. It is often said that Stuttgart is the “secret” capital of culture in Germany. Our museums, our ballet and even our theaters are internationally renowned. Finally, I believe that the strength of our economy is a factor conducive to recovery.

Have hotels suffered from the COVID crisis?

Armin Dellnitz – I must say that if the hotels in Stuttgart suffered, they did a little better out than in the rest of Germany. None of them has yet closed. This is due to the fact that the regional government has financially supported the sector, but also because hotels in Stuttgart have seen very good business in recent years. This gave them the financial strength needed to cope with the situation. I think the situation is most difficult now. Financial assistance has ceased, hotels have reopened, but occupancy rates remain low. I think the hospitality industry could hit the 50% mark again in the second half of 2021, and maybe even hit 60% in early 2022.

Are there any new hotel projects, however?

Armin Dellnitz – Yes, there are a good half a dozen. The fourth establishment of the Motel One budget chain, for example, has just opened near the train station. There are also plans for a Mövenpick with 262 rooms, halfway between the airport and the trade fair center, or the hotel Emilu, a 90-room designer boutique hotel expected in September. There is also talk of the opening of a Premier Inn and a Hampton by hilton before the end of the year. From here 2023, we should also host an establishment Radisson Blu near the Porsche Design Tower and a hotel Ruby downtown. The latter will also offer co-working spaces.

How is the business travel market doing?

Armin Dellnitz – We believe this will be the market segment that experiences the slowest recovery. This is a real challenge, as more than 70% of travelers from Stuttgart come here for business. Conditions remain difficult for large conventions and exhibitions, as people do not yet feel ready to go to large events.

How will the major “Stuttgart 21” project structure the destination Stuttgart?

Armin Dellnitz – This is a huge project that will significantly improve the situation of our city in terms of transport. It includes the transformation of our main railway station and an improved rail connectivity with all of Europe. This project is also at the genesis of a whole new district in the city center with spectacular sustainable architecture, new green spaces and the construction of a new congress center directly accessible from the station. Thanks to the presence of new hotels, all tourist attractions and infrastructure in the city center will be linked to the central station.

Janelle B. Smith

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