Culture, with museums at the apex of the cultural complex, is a major industry for many cities and regions. Others aspire to create cultural destinations. Skift reports on how Berlin depends upon tourism and focuses on culture to attract those tourists:
“Berlin lives from tourism, and tourists come here largely for culture,” said Hermann Parzinger, president of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, which manages most of the city’s museums. “Today, London is more dynamic but Berlin has more potential.”
Projects under way include a complete renovation of one of the city’s three opera houses and a new museum of modern art. The former royal palace is being rebuilt and will house exhibits run by Neil MacGregor, the current British Museum director and media host lured away by the city this year.
There’s a lot at stake because in the absence of major industries — Berlin lost Deutsche Bank AG and Siemens AG after World War II — tourism is one of the city’s biggest businesses. The German capital attracted 12 million visitors last year who spent 10 billion euros ($11.3 billion), contributing a full 8 percent of economic activity, according to Berlin government data. The city says those coming for the museums, performances of Simon Rattle’s Berlin Philharmonic and other cultural activities spend more than any other group.
“Cultural tourism is an important economic factor for our city,” said Tim Renner, Berlin’s cultural affairs secretary. “That’s why we’re exerting a big effort to make the cultural offerings even more attractive for international visitors.”