With well over 12 million visitors per year, tourism plays a critical element in the Munich economy. Approximately 10% of the 130 million visitors to Germany end up in Munich, with more than half visiting during the three-week Octoberfest festival. One of the leading drivers of tourism in Munich continues to be lifestyle based, a great climate, easy going attitude and what I would call a beer garden culture. Other major draws include skiers on the way to Austrian, German, Italian and Swiss Alps. Since Germany hosted the World Cup in 2006, tourism has increased steadily for the past couple years, but with the downturn in the economy Munich is expecting that flow to flatten or go down slightly. As we lead into Spring, it has been difficult to notice any slowdown, but like the economic indicators I talked about a few weeks ago – I think there may be a delay here as well. For now, as Spring appears there are no shortage of tour groups, full beer gardens, and – as pictured – bus tours throughout Munich.