12/12/2016 AT 2PM
Explore the impact of Oktoberfest on Munich and the impact of Munich on the future design and delivery of Oktoberfest
Munich is the third largest city in Germany after Berlin and Hamburg (Global Blue, 2014). It is the ‘capital of Southern Germany state of Bavaria’ (Munich Found, 2016) and is home to a fast-growing population of 1.4 million people (Review, 2016). In the Second World War Munich lost 34% of its population with 279,000 people relocated due to evacuation, deportation, migration and homelessness through the attacks; the pre-war population of roughly 829,000 was not regained until 1950.
Being Germany’s second visited destination (Warlfhorst & Klug, 2016, p.56), the popular Bavarian city is renowned for a number of attractions, not just it’s annual Oktoberfest. Visitors are motivated to see the city of Munich because of both its natural and built attractions that are located there. A tourist attraction is defined as “a place of interest that tourists visit, typically for its cultural value, historical significance, natural or built beauty and amusement opportunities” (Layton, 2009). There are a number of historic attractions that reside in Munich, the most famous being Frauenkirche, a 500-year old building known as the “Church of Our Lady” (Kline, 2015). There are “more than 180 beer gardens” (Sailsbury, 2012), 36 museums and 61 theatres, and parks covering over 70,000 acres. Munich has huge significance to the Second World War and so tourists are keen to travel there to discover Nazi architecture and admire memorials to the victims of the War; they are also able to visit the beer hall where Hitler attended his first party meeting and made his first major speeches.
If there wasn’t any transport, there wouldn’t be tourism. Each year more than 70 million visitors travel to Munich. Transport is needed for these vacationers to get from place to place, whether it be to the destination or whilst they are there. It must be convenient for visitors to access the city as well as being “an affordable price with a good local connection to the destination itself” (Holloway & Humphreys, 2016); the second largest airport in Germany is located in Munich and so air transport shouldn’t be a problem. You can transport around Munich via trains, buses and trams, bike rentals, and taxis. Le-Klän investigated the “use of public transport by tourists in the city of Munich” and came to the conclusion that tourists are “moderately satisfied” with the public transport services in the city (2013, p.75); the characteristics of public transport in Munich have been described as punctual, reliable and frequent. Transport however has a negative impact on the environment as it causes 75% of the 4.4% tourist global C02 emissions.
With a total of 49.6% of visitors from abroad and 14.1 million overnight stays in 2015 Munich’s need for accommodation is vast. The tourist economy includes roughly “400 hotels, guesthouses and hostels and have around 65,000 beds available” (Muenchen.de, 2016). There are different types of hotels in Munich to meet different visitor’s needs including city centre hotels, airport hotels, boutique hotels and historic conversion hotels such as the Bayerischer Hof Hotel. Hostels and other basic backpacker accommodation is becoming more and more available and is used especially in times such as the 16 days of Oktoberfest and other events. There was however a fall of 2% of overnight stays in Germany (Moller & Deckert, 2009), but Germany has come back from this.
Due to Munich being a popular tourist destination there are “services that are required to meet the needs of tourists while they are away from home” (Layton, 2009) these are called amenities. Tourists have needs on the way to, and at the final destination. Such facilities include public toilets and transport, restaurants, cafes and retail shopping (Hapimag, 2016). Munich combines tradition and modernity with historic architecture, stylish shopping areas, exclusive restaurants and trendy clubs as well as traditional Bavarian restaurants and markets. Amenities such as public toilets are known to be found “around every corner” (Nile Guide,2016), supporting the needs for travellers, especially if they are only staying for a day and haven’t got any accommodation to use the toilet there. Munich has tax free shopping which is great for increasing tourism.
Munich are increasingly targeting niche markets, these have included the gay and lesbian individuals. This target group travel several times a year and account for the £415 million annual tourism turnover.
The city attracts many visitors from around the world with events involving culture, music, film, art and food (Caron, 2016). Destination branding ensures that the events takes place in the most convenient location for both the visitors and Munich’s economy. For example, Munich is a perfect location for the Oktoberfest to commence. The Bavarian culture is the perfect scene for the festival and the beer gardens are fitting for the type of event. Destination branding is “about identifying the destinations strongest and most competitively appealing assets in the eyes of its prospective visitors, […] and stand out above its competitors” (Team, 2015).
Oktoberfest is the world’s largest beer festival (Rees-Bloor, 2016) held in Munich on an annual basis. It originated in 1810 as a large festival in celebration of Prince Ludwig’s marriage to Princess Therese which included horse racing and by 1819 had grown to include beer pubs (The Beer Wench, 2008). Today the festival has grown massively, averaging six to seven million visitors per year and as a result, has a huge effect on Munich as a whole, both positively and negatively in many different retrospect’s. Additionally, Munich in itself has had a huge impact on the way in which Oktoberfest is run, the details of which will be explored throughout this essay.
The economy of Munich is influenced hugely by Oktoberfest. 70% of Munich’s tourists to go to the event and around 955 million euros are spent during the 16 to 18-day festival on amenities such as public transport, accommodation, food, drink and entertainment (Schulekorf, 2008). Each year the festival employees 12,000 people to run the “worlds-largest” event (The Week, 2015), with 8,000 of these jobs being permanent. Oktoberfest brings in £1.8 billion in tourism (Paste Media Group, 2016) and with the visitors consuming 6,900,000 litres of beer it turns over a high revenue. However, less beer is being sold due to the increasing demand of wine and other beverages (Oltermann, 2014). There is such a high demand for accommodation during the weeks of the festivals, Munich and the economy will take advantage of this. Hotels inflate in prices “prove[ing] a rise of 85% compared to the weeks before and after [the] festival” and flight prices “show a 220% increase”. Thinking negatively, £320 million was spent on the festival in total, however this is justified by the amount of revenue the Volkfest turns over. Business opportunities arise through the Oktoberfest as only breweries from Bavaria are allowed to sell beer enabling the locals to showcase local beer brads (The Local, 2010).
There are both positive and negative socio-cultural impacts on Munich from the festival. The festival is a very traditional event which has grown and developed over the past 206 years. The locals use it as “an opportunity to show pride in their culture” (Schulenkorf, 2008) and bringing the community in Munich together with a shared experience of the festival. There are however negative factors due to the amount of alcohol being consumed during the celebration. This could lead to change in behaviour and a clash between the locals and the tourists and so could turn aggressive as 72% visitors of Oktoberfest are Bavarian; “alcohol risk management procedures have to be undertaken to limit the negative consequences of alcohol consumption”. Although tradition is preserved due to the festival goers and staff wearing traditional costumes of Lederhosen and Dirndl (Gabb, 2008), the festival is slowly losing its authenticity as there are more diverse tents being introduced to the festival; it is growing with the world and becoming more modern. The festival has increased crime rates including rapes, assaults and thefts (Spiegel and Hamburg, 2007). In 2009 there was a terrorist bomb scare, the number of visitors fell slightly due to the fear of terrorists in Germany as a whole and so the security was tightened over fears of terrorism (BBC, 2015).
Environmental issues are very controversial when it comes to hosting large scale events. It is primarily a drinking festival which has a huge impact on the environment due to an influx of intoxicated revellers disturbing the normal lives of residents; there is vomit and urine in the streets as well as litter, people sleeping in the subways and a dramatic increase in noise levels. According to the Bavarian Red Cross 600 guests were treated for alcohol poisoning in 2014 as well as several others for cuts, bruises and other alcohol induced injuries (Munichre, 2015). Each year, there are 1,000 tons of residual waste built up during the festival. With over 6 million festival goers transporting to and from Oktoberfest, extra transport to the area causes traffic congestion. There are a large number of people who arrive by airplane which adds more CO2 emissions to the atmosphere. However, the negative impacts on the environment are far outweighed by the positives. As there is a large increase in amount of waste in Munich equivalent to the population increase, in 1991 there was a Mandatory deposit scheme put into place. This scheme banned the sale of canned drinks and use of disposables such as paper plates and plastic cutlery at the Oktoberfest. The scheme ensures that only reusable items are available at the event and for that reason amount of waste was quickly reduced. Water is recycled at the festival by reusing the supplies used for cleaning beer mugs to flush the toilets, rather than discharging it into the public sewers. The use of green electricity at Oktoberfest contributes to protecting the environment; 2000 public spaces, the streets, funfair rides and the toilets are all operated with green power, reducing pollution in the area. Energy saving measures such as the installation of solar panels on tents also benefits the environment. As a result of these environmentally friendly acts, in 1997 the Oktoberfest was awarded a German federal project prize, nicknamed an ‘Eco-Oscar’, “environmental guidelines governing major events”. Due to this, Oktoberfest has served as an international prototype for environmentally friendly events. In Bavaria in 2011 there was a strict non-smoking policy put into place and therefore smoking was also banned at the festival (Moore 2010). Munich’s environment will have benefited from the ban, especially during the festival, as without smoke or cigarette butts pollution will be greatly reduced. Looking at all of the impacts on the environment, we can see that the negative effects are all short term problems which take place only during the festival, whereas the positives are long term and are continuing to help the environment in Munich.
Factors in the external environment affect the ongoing design and delivery of Oktoberfest. A STEEPLE analysis can be used to help consider sociocultural, technological, economical, ethical, political, legal and environmental issues and help predict what will happen in the future events. Firstly, sociocultural issues, these are cultural and demographic changes that can have a direct effect on the design and delivery of Oktoberfest. For example, the more culturally diverse the community gets, the less traditional it will be and therefore Oktoberfest will be completely different than it has been for the last 200 years.
The next issue is technology; “Munich is at the heart of Germany’s high-tech industries” (Messe-Muenchen, 2014). Technology helps open up opportunities for an event, however it also threatens it. For example, if Oktoberfest has bad reviews they will written online for the world to see and visitors from across the world wouldn’t have a motive to visit the festival.
Economic issues will help see if the event will be viable in the future. If interest rates increase it will be impossible for travelers to get to Munich, as well as if international trade increases, the price of beer will grow with it. Ethical factors will have a huge effect on the festival in the future with the ongoing terrorism occurring throughout Germany and the rest of Europe; 9/11, the shooting spree, and the Würzburg train attack, the city will and has changed a huge amount. For example, as a result security at the festival was heightened. If an event has political gains, then the government will be willing to pay for it.
Legal factors are those that the government has imposed laws upon to regulate the way general public behave. For example, Munich’s government put a smoking ban on Oktoberfest. Affecting the on-going design and delivery of the future events as people who smoke will have to change their behaviour. Also, the festival has a few places in which the visitors can smoke however they had to implement these and they aren’t very convenient for either party (Welle, 2012).
Overall Oktoberfest attendance this year was only 5.5 million, 300,000 less than in 2015 (Davies, 2016), which is accounted for by the external environment. Other countries have also been doing their own take on Oktoberfest, so actions need to be made in order for the festival to continue. Each of the external factors all link to each other, if one fails it will have huge impact on the future of the event.
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