Sylt — a dream island destination at a bargain price
The white dream beaches of the North Sea island of Sylt attract hundreds of thousands of vacationers every year. Most of them are well-heeled, because Sylt is one of the most expensive vacation destinations in Germany. With the 9-euro ticket, at least the journey was possible at a bargain price.
Sylt — swamped by crowds of travellers
However, with the advent of the 9-euro ticket, the island of the rich and beautiful was virtually swamped by people with smaller wallets. The invasion of a rather atypical public made headlines: Punks and other groups critical of consumerism besieged downtown Westerland — much to the chagrin of the clientele who normally stroll here.
The benefits for Hamburg
In the greater Hamburg area, the 9-euro ticket has proved a sales hit: More than 1.8 million tickets were sold in the first two months. Many people from the surrounding area took advantage of the opportunity to travel cheaply to check out the sights of the Hanseatic city, such as the Elbphilharmonie concert hall. According to a survey, this saved more than four million car journeys.
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More day tourists in Rhineland-Palatinate
As in many other regions of Germany, according to the Rhineland-Palatinate Tourist Board, many day tourists used the 9-euro ticket for excursions to the state's sights. No doubt a large number of them admired Trier Cathedral, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A boost for Castle Neuschwanstein
The fairytale castle of Neuschwanstein in Bavaria has always been a magnet for visitors. But as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the flow of visitors dried up here, too. The 9-euro ticket came at just the right time and boosted visitor numbers. Tegernsee and Chiemsee or Hohenschwangau Castle were also among the 9-euro winners in Bavaria.
The run on Saxon Switzerland
In Saxon Switzerland, too, tourist attractions recorded an increase in visitor numbers thanks to the 9-euro ticket. Pictured here is the Bastei Bridge, where thousands of tourists explore the spectacular natural landscape, many of them on a day trip.
Public transport problems in rural areas
In rural areas it's better to be independently mobile because, like here in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, trains rarely run. Environmental associations are therefore calling for greater support for local public transport in rural regions and the expansion of the route network. According to a study, 55 million Germans outside the metropolitan regions are without adequate public transportation.
Historic trains pick up speed
Historic trains like the seaside train "Molli" in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania experienced an influx of visitors thanks to the 9-euro ticket. Operators say passenger numbers increased significantly during the three-month period. The same applies to the Harz narrow-gauge trains, which are already popular with tourists, and the "Rasender Roland" (Rushing Roland) steam train on the island of Rügen.
Ideal for weekend getaways
The 9-euro ticket was particularly popular with weekend travellers. According to the Federal Statistical Office, in June, the first month of the special offer, the use of regional and local trains was 83% higher on Sundays and 61% higher on Saturdays than before the COVID-19 pandemic. As here in Stralsund, this led to high capacity use of trains and crowding at the station.
What will follow the 9-euro ticket?
Maintaining the 9-euro fare seems unrealistic at the moment. A majority of Germans would like to see a service that applies to all tariff areas nationwide — and would pay more for it. Metropolitan areas such as Erfurt would then certainly continue to attract many tourists, while rural regions would probably lose out without an expansion of local public transportation.
Author Martin Koch
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