Hessen’s tourism sectors have the equivalent of more than 200,000 full-time jobs and contribute €5.6 billion to the states GDP.
Nearly one-quarter of all overnight stays come from overseas. In particular tourists from the USA, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, China, Switzerland and Italy value the hospitality and diverse range of activities in Hessen very highly.
Hessen has more forestland than any of Germany's other federal states, offering a unique landscape for those seeking rest and relaxation. The low mountain ranges with natural parklands such as the National Park Kellerwald-Edersee (a portion of which has been recognized by UNESCO as a natural heritage site) and the biosphere reserve Rhön offer numerous activities such as hiking, cycling, canoe trips and horseback riding.
Additionally, the 30 medicinal spas and health resorts of the region present a wonderful opportunity for relaxation.
Hessen has rich cultural offerings: renowned museums such as the Hessen State Museum in Darmstadt and the Städel Museum in Frankfurt, as well as international art, theater and music events like documenta in Kassel, the Rheingau Music Festival and the Bad Hersfeld Festival which lure visitors from throughout the world to this European center of culture.
The UNESCO World Heritage Sites have become magnets for tourists. In addition to the Kellerwald-Edersee National Park, these sites include: the Cloister Lorsch, the Messel pit, the Hessen portion of the upper Middle Rhine Valley, the Limes and the Wilhelmshöhe Mountain Park in Kassel. The first edition of the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales, which has been listed as a UNESCO World Document Heritage, can be seen in Kassel.
The diverse offerings of Hessen’s tourism sector also require well-trained employees. The range of occupations required by the many tourism locations include qualified personnel for hotels and restaurants, medically-trained personnel for spa and health resorts, sports instructors and hiking guides. Hotel and hospitality training programs are located in Kassel, Marburg, Korbach and Fulda, which educate future employees in the hotel and gastronomy sectors. These institutions offer state-recognized degree programs and prepare future personnel for responsibilities in middle management.
Universities also offer a wide range of programs. The International School of Management in Frankfurt and the University of Cooperative Education in Bad Wildungen offer bachelor degree programs in Tourism & Event Management, as well as in Hotel and Tourism Management. Students at the University of Cooperative Education in Darmstadt can study for a degree in International Business Management, with emphasis on Hotel and Tourism Management. The University of Applied Sciences in Frankfurt offers a work-study program in Tourism Management and the Fresenius University in Idstein as well as the Diploma University of Applied Sciences in North Hessen also offer tourism focused degree programs.