Tourism as an economic factor in NRW
  2. Industries in NRW
  3. Tourism

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.

Did you know ...

...that NRW is one of Germany's most popular travel destinations with 22.1 million visitors per year?
...that NRW has five UNESCO World Heritage sites, for example Aachen Cathedral, Cologne Cathedral and Corvey Abbey?
...that the tourism industry in NRW is bigger than the information and communications sector?

Quick Facts

25.1 bn €

economic output
Tourism contributes a total of EUR 25.1 billion or around 4.6% to the total economic output in North Rhine-Westphalia.

4.69 %

4.69% of all employees in NRW work directly in the tourism industry; together with the indirectly employed, this figure is actually 6.34% or 573,000 employees

From NRW around the world: Location for major international events

NRW Japanday in Düsseldorf

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.

Cologne Cathedral: The most visited monument of Germany

Cologne Cathedral

Category: Cultur/Art

Region: Köln/Bonn

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.

More about the Cologne Cathedral


Economic Development Agency of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW)

Völklinger Str. 4
40219 Düsseldorf

Find a contact person

Germany’s No. 1 Economic Region

The excellent infrastructure, the central location and the high qualifications of the people make North Rhine-Westphalia an economic power of international standing. In terms of numerous economic statistics, NRW is world class.

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