Tourism in the Alb-Donau district: record year

11. January 2024

Overnight stay numbers in 2023 higher than ever before

“The Alb-Donau-Kreis is a highly attractive region: We live and work where others vacation make. The statistics from last year prove this very clearly. We have never had so many guests in our district! 2023 will exceed all previous overnight stay records with over 16 percent increase compared to pre-Corona levels. We are also in the top group in a national comparison and have been able to increase the number of our visitors more than most other urban and rural districts. Our intensive tourism work over many years, including during the Corona pandemic, and the investments in Ice Age art are paying off for the region,” said District Administrator Heiner Scheffold today at a press conference in advance of the CMT tourism fair, which takes place on Saturday, March 13th. January 2024, begins in Stuttgart.

The Alb-Donau-Kreis is taking part for the 27th time this year and is presenting itself at two stands. The main stand is in Hall 6 under the umbrella brand “Schwäbische Alb”. The district is also represented at the “Albtäler” cycle path stand in Hall 9 at the CMT subsidiary bike travel trade fair.

A visit is worthwhile for fans of the Swabian Alb in several ways, because the region is the official gourmet partner of the CMT this year and will present its culinary facets. A special treat is also planned for the residents of the Swabian Alb: They have the opportunity to visit the CMT free of charge on Friday, January 19, 2024. You can get the admission ticket for this with the promotional code ALBLIEBE24 on the Messe Stuttgart website.

In the run-up to the trade fair, District Administrator Heiner Scheffold and tourism experts from the district office and the municipalities provided information about the excellent tourism development that the Alb-Donau district was able to record in 2023.

Overnight stay numbers: Alb-Donau-Kreis on record course

“Tourism in the Alb-Donau district has not only recovered from the slumps in the pandemic years, but has also been able to increase its perception as an attractive holiday region during this time and attract more guests than ever before,” said Scheffold. Extrapolated to the entire year of 2023, around 580,000 overnight stays are expected in the Alb-Donau district – in 2022 this number was 542,369 overnight stays.

525,692 overnight stays were registered in the period from January to October 2023. This means a strong increase of 9.65 percent compared to the same period last year and a significant increase of 16.5 percent compared to the pre-Corona period (January to October 2019).

The Alb-Donau-Kreis district office determined the numbers based on data from the Baden-Württemberg State Statistical Office. The official statistics from the State Statistical Office generally only count overnight stays in establishments with ten or more beds – these only make up around 100 of a total of around 200 overnight accommodation establishments in the Alb-Donau district. This means that the official statistics are estimated to be missing around 25 percent of the actual overnight stays in the district.

Tourism as an economic factor is underestimated

“The added value that overnight and day guests generate is considerable. The final accounts are not yet available, but gross tourism revenue in the Alb-Donau district is estimated to be around 245 million euros in 2023! This high sum makes it clear that leisure and cultural offerings as well as overnight accommodations are important, but sometimes still underestimated, economic factors in our district. Tourism represents an enormous boost for rural areas and secures numerous jobs. “In addition, it also creates added value for the local population through cycling and hiking trails as well as cultural and leisure facilities and strengthens the district’s attractiveness as a location,” said District Administrator Scheffold.

Good marketing is the basis for making the offers even better known and continuing to benefit from the strong trend towards domestic travel. The tourism office in the district office, for example, advertises the district through brochures – which have recently been supplemented with videos via QR codes and are in high demand -, advertising campaigns or on social media. The focus is particularly on the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Caves and Ice Age Art of the Swabian Alb” as a unique selling point of the region.

The new edition of the brochure “Experience Offers 2024” is now available hot off the press for CMT: 42 new offers for holidays, leisure activities and excursions in the Alb-Donau district. 37 providers offer individual excursions, short vacations, group tours or leisure activities in four topic categories (active travel, world heritage & natural heritage, nature & sensory experiences, enjoyment & culture) at attractive conditions. The offerings are very diverse and there is something for all interest and age groups as well as for locals and guests. Many offers are suitable for families and groups, some also for wheelchair users.

The popularity of the Swabian Alb as a holiday region is growing

The cooperation with the Swabian Alb Tourism Association and other partners continues to pay off when it comes to marketing, says Scheffold: “The awareness and popularity of the Swabian Alb as a holiday region has been continuously increasing for years. It is perceived as authentic, hospitable, attractive and varied and is currently evolving from an insider tip to one of the top travel destinations in Baden-Württemberg. It was only able to develop this appeal because all the players in the region pulled together across municipal, city and district boundaries without any sense of competition. We are aware that only by working together can we create synergy effects that benefit everyone,” says Scheffold.

Image reference:

District Administrator Heiner Scheffold (front row, second from right) moved together with Wolfgang Koller, Rural Area Specialist, District Development in the District Office (front row, right), and Roswitha Guggemos, responsible for tourism (second from left), as well as representatives of the Cities and municipalities balance sheet for the tourism year 2023. Participants from the municipalities were: (back row, from left) Westerheim’s mayor Hartmut Walz, Munderkingen’s mayor Thomas Schelkle, Laichingen’s deputy mayor Uli Rößler and Rabea Christ from Ehingen (left). © District Office Alb-Donau-Kreis

Overview of the number of overnight stays

Area January to

October 2023

Change from January to

October 2022

Change from January to

October 2019

Projection for January to December 2023
Alb-Donau-Kreis 525,692 + 9.65 percent + 16.5 percent 580,000
Swabian Alb 4.2 million + 12.18 percent + 2.78 percent


49.9 million + 10.46 percent + 0.73 percent
Notes on statistics:
  • The figures evaluated by the Alb-Donau-Kreis District Office are based on statistics from the State Statistical Office. The Swabian Alb Tourism Association publishes its own overnight stay statistics for its association area with a slightly different area of ​​the Swabian Alb than the State Statistical Office.
  • The statistics only count overnight stays in establishments with ten or more beds, but these only make up around 100 of around 200 overnight accommodation establishments in the Alb-Donau district. This means that around 25 percent of the actual overnight stays in the district are missing from the official statistics.