Berlin’s Unhelpful Press Coverage

By | Category: Travel destinations

Berlin Wall

If I was working for the tourist office for Berlin, I would be less than happy by some of the coverage that German newspapers have been giving to the city recently. Die Tageszeiting has been saying that some of those who live in the city have been complaining about tourists. Well doesn’t everyone until you become one? But Der Spiegel went even further by subtitling one of its articles, Is ‘Tourism Fatigue’ Behind Berlin Arson Wave?
Berlin has become very popular for us to go there for a shortbreak. 4.6 million tourists visit the city each year. It’s easy to get to with good links from many of our airports being served by both main and no-frills airlines. Once you arrive, there is an efficient train service to get you into the city. It has hotels to cover just about range of pocket, restaurants and clubs to match and a burgeoning “new” art scene. On top of that, its historical past and the fact that this year is the anniversary of the Berlin Wall is an especial attraction. The museums and galleries have had some very attractive exhibitions in the last twelve months and for leisure there is the river and the surrounding countryside. On top of all that does the tourist board deserve to have unthought out headlines like that of Der Spiegel?
Every city has some problems. In Berlin, stretching back some ten years, some body or group has been torching cars and 141 have been burnt out this year. Being an election year politicians and the media are asking why this is happening. One spurious answer is that it is linked to tourism? “easyjet tourism” as described by Die Tageszeitung, is booming. So what? I haven’t read anywhere that people are setting fires to cars because tourists are cramming museums in huge numbers, taking up all the restuarants places or making trains too busy to travel in. Badische Zeitung at least defends the value of tourism giving a much more reasoned view of its value pointing out that €9 billion is spent by visitors in the city each year.
Yes there are more tourists but why? Because Berlin is an attractive destination and, as Die Tageszeitung is kind to admit, it’s a very safe city to walk around in at any time of the day and most of the night. How many cities can you say that about?

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