Oktoberfest tourist numbers hit by refugee crisis at border controls

Fewer tourists travelled to Germany  this year to partake in its annual Oktoberfest because of the refugee crisis, according to festival organisers.

This year's Oxtoberfest in Munich suffered due to bad weather and the refugee crisis which saw long delays at border controls

This year's Oktoberfest in Munich suffered due to bad weather and the refugee crisis which saw long delays at border controls Image by JasonParis / CC BY 2.0

The world’s biggest beer festival had recorded increased numbers over the past five years, but the tightened border controls which have made travel more difficult, led to a dramatic fall off in numbers this year.

Refugees rest on the roadside after police stopped them near the border between Austria and Germany, in Salzburg, Austria, last month

Refugees rest on the roadside after police stopped them near the border between Austria and Germany, in Salzburg, Austria, last month Image by (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)

The London Independent reports that the Munich-based extravaganza recorded 5.9 million visitors which is the lowest since 2009, while beer consumption fell by 400,000 large glass mugs over the previous year.

Josef Schmid, Oktoberfest chief, also pointed to the unseasonably inclement weather as a factor, but stressed that it was the border checks and delays which kept tourists from neighbouring countries from making the journey.

At the same time as the festival was beginning, about 8,000 refugees arrived from Austria into the region. The German authorities also suspended its rail operation Deutsche Bahn to and from Austria and Hungary during that time. This was also a major reason why thousands of visitors who would normally use the rail to get to the 205-year-old festival gave it a miss in 2015.

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