Tourism as an economic factor in North Rhine-Westphalia
Tourism in NRW has developed dynamically over recent years and as a cross-sectional industry is one of the state's economic growth drivers. Millions of private and business travelers from Germany and abroad come to NRW each year. They provide significant revenues – not only in tourism but also in many other sectors such as the hotel/restaurant and retail trades. As an economic factor tourism performs a dual function: On the one hand, the industry itself possesses considerable added value, and on the other hand tourism increases the attractiveness of NRW overall as a working and investment location by enhancing the quality of life for everyone.
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From NRW around the world: Location for major international events
NRW has made a name for itself in the organization and implementation of numerous major international events: For example, the city of Düsseldorf hosted the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) in 2011. Around 36,000 spectators attended the world's biggest TV entertainment show in the specially converted football arena; 120 million people worldwide watched the ESC live on television.In June 2017, the Tour de France, the largest and most famous bicycle race in the world, started in the state capital with about one million visitors.
A native of Cologne is known by his love of Kölsch (beer), carnival and of course the cathedral. The sight of the two cathedral spires enthrals not just the natives but 6 million visitors from all corners of the world annually, making the Cologne Cathedral the most visited landmark of Germany.
When completed, in 1880, the "High Cathedral of Cologne" was the biggest building in the world. At 157.38 m, the Gothic cathedral is currently Europe’s second-tallest church building. The architecture kept to the mediaeval plans for the most part, despite 600 years of construction. The West face of the cathedral, including the two towers, has a surface area of 7,100 m² making it the largest church facade in the world.
A European masterpiece of Gothic architecture, the cathedral was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1996. The reliquary of the remains of The Three Kings inside the Catholic church draws scores of visitors, as does the stained glass in the southern transept window, created by the famous German artist, Gerhard Richter, in 2007.