Tourism Research

Welcome to the NIT! For nearly 30 years the NIT has been researching issues from tourism and related topics. On the basis of our research, we also develop tourism strategies within consultancy projects. On these pages you will find information about the Institute and its work. Please contact us for further information.


Together with NECSTouR, NIT supports the EU project CIVITAS DESTINATIONS through its tourism expertise in the development of sustainable mobility concepts for cities in the following partner regions: Funchal in Madeira, Las Palmas in Gran Canaria, Valletta in Malta, Portoferraio and Rio Marina in Elba, Rethymno in Crete and Limassol in Cyprus.

More information on CIVITAS DESTINATIONS

A summary of the most recent webinar can be found on the DESTINATIONS Platform. For more insights and presentations click here.

Contact: Ulf Sonntag and Bente Grimm

Sustainable holiday travel: awareness and demand in Germany

On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMU), the NIT prepared a basic study on the development of awareness and demand for sustainable holiday travel among the German population. The report is based on representative population surveys as part of the Reiseanalyse 2019. The final report on the research project was recently published.

[Read the management summary]

[Read the full report (in German language)]

Contacts: Dirk Schmücker, Ulf Sonntag, Wolfgang Günther

The impact of digitisation and big data analysis on the sustainable development of tourism and its environmental impact

On behalf of the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA), we investigated the opportunities and risks of digitisation for a sustainable tourism industry. Special consideration was given to the behaviour of different user groups, with their influence on resource use, environment and climate. The core tasks of the study were to identify current developments in the digitalisation of the tourism industry, to identify and evaluate the resulting opportunities and risks, and to develop options for action for destinations. The work was carried out in cooperation with the FH Westküste.

Read the full report (at the UBA Website)

Contact: Dirk Schmücker

NIT: Partner of Reiseanalyse 2020

The NIT is proud to be partner of the Forschungsgemeinschaft Urlaub und Reisen e.V. (FUR) in conception and implementation of the Reiseanalyse 2020. The Reiseanalyse is the longest existing and most comprehensive study on the holiday travel behaviour of the German population and celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2020. We are pleased to keep you up to date on the status of the preparations on the project homepage.

More information on RA 2020 and First results of the Reiseanalyse 2020

Contact: Ulf Sonntag

Modules of the Reiseanalyse 2020

In addition to the basic questions programme of the Reiseanalyse 2020, the NIT, together with the partners and users of the study, has developed three thematic focuses, which will be presented in separate reports.

General information on thematic modules of RA

Contact for more: Bente Grimm

FINDUS - Finding sustainability information for holiday travel

FINDUS is a research project that deals with the findability of sustainability information in holiday travel.  Its scope is to assess how sustainability information is perceived and evaluated in a holiday travel context. The focus was on mainstream information and booking channels.

Read more ...

Contact: Dirk Schmücker

European Capital of Smart Tourism Award 2018

Dirk Schmücker is part of an international expert team that prepares the selection of winners for the European Capital of Smart Tourism Award 2018. The EU initiative recognises outstanding achievements in four categories: sustainability, accessibility, digitisation as well as cultural heritage and creativity by European city destinations. Two cities will be awarded the title of European Capital of Smart Tourism, and additional four cities will receive European Smart Tourism Awards for their outstanding achievements in the individual categories. All finalists will need to demonstrate excellence across all categories combined and at a later stage present an attractive programme of activities for 2019. The initiative aims to promote smart tourism in the EU, network and strengthen destinations, and facilitate the exchange of best practice.

Read more ...

Contact: Dirk Schmücker

Assessing the meaning of peer-to-peer tourism markets

Sharing economy, peer-to-peer-markets or collaborative economy are some of the labels attached to phenomena which are not new to tourism. Renting out a place to sleep, to drive or to eat has become a global and quickly rising aspect of tourism because of global digital platforms facilitating the peer-to-peer economy. We study, what this could mean for destinations.

Read more ...

Contact: Dirk Schmücker

Hiking Europe: NIT supports EU-COSME projekt on hiking tourism

The EU-COSME project "HikingEurope - Discovering rural Europe through hiking trails" aimed at promoting a transnational network of rural tourism routes. These will be structured around different itineraries of hiking trails around Europe to facilitate the discovery of the natural and cultural heritage of the involved territories. The project was funded by the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises programme (COSME) of the European Commission. The project, led from Catalonia by the Catalan Tourist Board, counted with the participation of several European partners including the NIT.

More information on Hiking Europe

Contact: Ulf Sonntag

NIT gives support to European tourism development project REACT

13 Danish and German partners from the Baltic area in southern Denmark and Schleswig-Holstein join forces to develop the region into “the best resort for active coastal tourism in Northern Europe”. The REACT project is co-funded through INTERREG Deutschland-Danmark. The project is focused on special interest segments in five activity groups.

NIT supports the project, together with two partners in Denmark, with a market analysis and SWOT matrices to prepare for future opportunities. The results of the analyses will be a basis for the marketing strategy.

Contact: Dirk Schmücker

Study: Tourism, Renewables and Landscape

The increased use of new types of energy production (e.g. wind power, biogas and solar energy) and the related energy transport (wiring) has changed the landscape. The developments are taking place in nearly all European countries and also in many countries outside Europe. As ‘a beautiful landscape’ is a key factor for the attractiveness of holiday regions, certain risks for destinations arise. Due to huge interest in a previous study conducted by the NIT, we are again trying to find out what impact renewable energies have on tourism.

Further information on the study, which is based on the Reiseanalyse, can be found here.

Contact: Bente Grimm

feasibility study on the use of mobile positioning data for tourism statistics

NIT together with international partners has been working on a feasibility study on behalf of EUROSTAT, in order to define if and how mobile phone positioning data can be used to improve tourism statistics in the EU (e.g. use roaming data to measure how many French mobile phones are how long in Germany within a given time). The study, which was a forerunner of Eurostat's current work in the area of Big Data, had the objective to address most technical, legal and quality-related issues that may surround the use of data stored by mobile network operators for official statistics.

Here you can find the consolidated report of this study.

And here is the link to the full results of the project. 

Contact: Dirk Schmücker and Ulf Sonntag

Long Distance Mobility: Current Trends and Future Perspectives

The basic study „Future perspectives of long distance mobility” deals with the development of different long distance segments (definition: one way distance of 100 km and more) and describes future perspectives, drivers and constraints with special focus on mobility in Germany. NIT and INFRAS (Switzerland) have analysed literature and data sets about every day mobility, business and holiday trips from several countries in Europe and discussed the results with mobility and tourism experts. Parts of the results were presented at the ifmo-conference in Berlin and on the Consumer Behaviour in Tourism Symposium in Bruneck/Brunico (Italy). The Institute for Mobility Research has released the main results of the study.

Contact: Bente Grimm

Download here

Demand for sustainable tourism

Within the population there is great interest in sustainability in connection with holiday trips: 31% of the population find it important that their holiday trip is ecologically and environmentally friendly as well as resource saving. Socially acceptable trips are important to 38% of the German population (source: Reiseanalyse 2014). However, the realisation often lags behind the wishes of most travellers.

The project was funded by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety and was carried out by the “Forschungsgemeinschaft Urlaub und Reisen” (FUR). Obstacles to sustainable consumer behaviour in the holiday trip sector were identified in this project. Furthermore, it shines a light on what types of knowledge and awareness exist in respect of sustainable holidays on the part of the consumer and on how creative expertise on the part of the provider can be enhanced. Hence, strategies for the reinforcement of the consumers’ decision-making skills can be deduced. The NIT carried out the scientific processing and analysis within the scope of the projects. Current field research serves as basis of the data (RA online and RA face-to-face). The report of the results are available on

Contact: Wolfgang Günther

Climate friendly holidays in the Wadden Sea

How big is the CO² footprint on an average holiday trip in the Wadden Sea? What amount of Greenhouse gases does tourism in the Wadden Sea between Den Helder and Esbjerg annually contribute to the climate change and what can we do about it?

These questions are followed up by the NIT in the study comissioned by the WWF Germany. The study is available in German and English: Download

BASTIS - Baltic Sea Heritage Tourism Information Service

The NIT has developed BASTIS, the Baltic Sea Heritage Tourism Information Service. As a work package of the AGORA 2.0 project, BASTIS is part-financed by the EU within the framework of the Baltic Sea Region Programme 2007-2013.

BASTIS is your one-stop-shop for tourism market information in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR), free of charge and easy to access! It addresses tourism professionals as well as tour operators, travel agencies, tourism organizations and destinations. Have a look at! Here you can find well-structured and at one glance statistics, market research results and analyses on all Baltic Sea destination countries, on the most important source markets for the BSR and a segmentation and analysis of different cultural and natural tourists in Europe who have been on holidays in the Baltic Sea Region. Like in Wikipedia, the user can add and update information within BASTIS. BASTIS is the first single source that provides the necessary insights for better decisions concerning tourism planning in the BSR. At the moment, it is a valuable source of information for about 500 professional users per month.

BASTIS – A Baltic Innovation as Best Practice for Digital Marketing

BASTIS, the Baltic Sea Heritage Tourism Information Service, has been selected as a best practice example by the Digital Tourism Think Tank, a global initiative which aims at providing thought leadership to the tourism industry in digital marketing best practice. More information

Contact: Wolfgang Günther and Ulf Sonntag

Biodiversity All Inclusive – Tourism industry and nature protection in dialogue

WWF develops with the professional support of the NIT and in dialog with selected travel organisations (REWE Touristik, ACCOR Hospitality Germany, ReNatour, Aventerra, SpreeScouts) business-specific measures helping the tourism industry to contribute to the protection and preservation of biodiversity, to minimize their negative impacts and to strengthen the awareness of the value of biodiversity in their companies and among their guests.

Operational areas in tourism companies which have a negative impact on biodiversity and the environment are analysed in workshops and bilateral in-depth discussions to identify potentials and concrete measures for a successful biodiversity management. The intensive dialogue is furthermore intended to figure out possible incentive activities for changes in distribution, product development and marketing of the participating enterprises.

The compiled concepts will professionally be presented in the media and published nationally and internationally. Approach and results will be recorded in a manual including concrete recommendations for a successful biodiversity management for big and small tourism companies.

On NIT's side the project is in the hands of Wolfgang Günther and Dirk Schmücker.
More information (in German):


Interview: Climate change and tourism

Germanys international broadcast Deutsche Welle recently featured an interview with Wolfgang Günther on climate change and tourism.

Click here for more

Presentations and upcoming events

More on past events in our archive