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Germany staycation: domestic tourism on the rise in Schleswig-Holstein

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A relief for regional tourism and gastronomy.

Holidaymakers are back, and although the weather may leave a lot to be desired, these tourists are blowing off the COVID-19 cobwebs with some sea air in northern Germany.

“Employees have work again. Companies can finally earn money again after all this months-long lockdown,” says Olaf Raffel, Director of Büsum Tourism and Marketing. He added that, “for the guests it’s also a relief. As we welcome the guests, we can see the friendly and happy faces.”

Masks remain compulsory in busy spaces and the main street is divided into lanes. This trial model project in northern Germany is being run under a safety plan. A strict testing strategy is also in place. Visitors have to present two negative test results: one, from no more than 48 hours before arrival – and a second, as they check-in to Büsum. Regular testing is also required throughout their visit. The results are being closely followed by a team from Schleswig-Holstein teaching hospital.

“The risk is relatively clear. We have a low incidence rate In Schleswig-Holstein right now, and now tourists are coming from parts of Germany with significantly high incidence rates, says Professor Doctor Jan Rupp from the local teaching hospital.

Despite the risks, almost all of the 10,000 beds currently available in Büsum are booked out this week. Some 600 companies have reopened their doors, including hotels, bars and restaurants, museums and campsites.

Campsite owner Ole Kahlke says the lockdowns were hard.

“We weren’t able to open and welcome our campers for weeks, months. So it’s great that we can do that. Of course, there’s a lot of effort required. Like the 300 tests carried out at the onsite centres for our campers. But so far, it’s going really, really well.”

When it comes to the impact of COVID-19 on tourism, Germany is no exception. Overnight stays in March this year were down more than 72% compared to March 2019. But projects like this one could be a sign of positive things to come for the industry. Health Minister Jens Spahn has warned Germany’s states, however, to be cautious in relaxing rules. Too much, too soon runs the risk of squandering everything that has been achieved, he says.

Watch Euronews’s full report in the player above.

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