Empirical Data & Unanswered Questions

Yesterday, I read that, at least in Bavaria, the turnover in restaurants is on the incline:

Compared with last year, the turnover of the Bavarian restaurants and hotels (Gastgewerbe) in October grew by 2.8 per cent in real value. According to the regional authorities for statistics and data processing published last Thursday in Munich, the hospitality industry enjoyed an increase of 3.6 per cent and   restaurants (Gastronomie) one of two per cent. Compared with the October of last year, that is 3.9 per cent more. The number of part-time jobs grew by 4.6 per cent, while there were 2.9 per cent more full-time jobs (t-online news).

What are the reasons?

Well, first and foremost, the strict Bavarian non-smoking law comes to mind. At long last, non-smokers and families with children can now go eating out. It might well be the reason for the increase.

But no:

Why was there such an increase of turnover in the hospitality industry, s well (what kind of industry is this, anyway?)? I already have a mental image of our Guido proudly announcing that this growth is due to the much-disputed lowering of added value tax  for hotels (Mehrwertsteuersenkung).

Or maybe the higher turnover is merely a consequence of the huge “upturn” that currently makes all Germany dance on a wave of euphoria? And maybe the increase would have been even a lot higher if there had been no non-smoker legislation?

You see the problem with empirical data, don’t you?

There is a lot you can deduce, yet in the end you know as much as before.

Incidentally, I strongly believe that the non-smoker legislation will have a positive effect on the restaurant turnovers in the long run. All the non-smokers need is a little time to re-discover that restaurants and jazz clubs can now again be visited. Then more non-smokers will go eating out.

To be sure, it is absolutely correct that the law has a detrimental effect on some. All change has that effect. Those who adapt best and fastest are the winners. And it is just a fact of life that some will fail. But in the restaurant industry, there should be more winners than losers – and that is something I approve of.

Yet I do wonder about the growth among hotels and pensions. They always had non-smoker compartments. Consequently, the new development cannot be attributed to the new legislation.

Maybe they profit from the boom and thus again get more businessmen staying overnight – regardless of internet and excellent communication networks? Or is it that many people can no longer afford to spend money on an expensive vacation abroad?

And are the Free State of Bavaria and Austria such a success because they put more and more emphasis on tourism? Or is it that the natives slowly change their minds about the Alps being a nice place after all, so they no longer need to travel to the Dominican Republic?

My personal experience is otherwise. I notice that the “accommodation industry” significantly raised their prices last year, regardless of the lower added value tax. In fact, the higher prices are the reason for the increase in turnover. The “real” prices as calculated by the Bavarian Authorities for Statistics and Data Processing do not directly reflect the prices paid per night. What is taken into consideration is merely the (fictitious) inflation rate. And as I see it, the prices for accommodation increased a lot more last year than those “real” 3.6 % might suggest.

Phew (Seufz) – isn’t it a hard nut about empirism. And since I constantly find out how little I know, I am truly glad about our government – and in particular our Federal Chancellor – being in possession of the absolute truth in all areas.

(Translated by EG)

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