No ‘Prost’ for This Year’s Oktoberfest as Considerably Fewer Tourists Attended

This year’s Oktoberfest was nothing like the previous ones. And that is for the worst. The German festival that every year attracts more than six million people barely made it 5.7 million this year, despite returning three years after no activity due to COVID-19.

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The festival starts in September and ends on the first Sunday of October, with an exception this year, as it ended on Monday, October 3, which was also deeply affected by the rainy weather, on top of everything else. A total of 5.6 million litres of beer were consumed this year, down from 6.3 million as recorded in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, reports.

According to data from O2 Telefonica, a German phone provider, this year’s Oktoberfest was mainly attended by young people. About 21 per cent of the visitors were between 16 and 29 years old, compared to 14 per cent in 2019.

Law enforcement authorities said it was a calm year, and only a few incidents occurred. The on-site medical station reported 27 per cent fewer incidents but picket pocking increased by nearly 50 per cent. On the other hand, the number of sexual assault reports was up from 2019, as ten more women reported being subject to such incidents, taking the total number to 55.

On top of everything else, Oktoberfest caused the number of Coronavirus cases to increase in the zone. More specifically, the seven-day incidence of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants reached 673 in Bavaria and 767 in Munich, with the latter experiencing an increase of 147 per cent compared to the previous week.

“I hope the situation does not get worse in the autumn and that the festival will not have to be called off at the last minute,” Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter had said at a conference, announcing the festival would definitely be held this year.

Holding the festival, however, experienced its challenges as not all-important actors weren’t in favour, with one of those being the mayor himself. According to Reiter, considering the war in Ukraine, this wasn’t quite the time for people to celebrate.

“I cannot personally imagine happily enjoying the festival atmosphere while in Ukraine, in our partner city of Kyiv, people are dying every day in an inhumane war not even two and half hours away by air. Everyone ultimately will have to decide for themselves whether they’re in the mood for celebrating,” Reiter had said regarding the matter.

According to Statista, during the 17-day-long festival, a total of seven million litres of beer are consumed, which could generate up to €75.7 million Euros in gross revenue for 2016. In the same year, visitors generated a total of €1 billion to Germany, and 12,000 jobs were established during the festival, which supported locals at least during the event.