With the FIFA World Cup 2006 about to kick off in Germany this June, the 12 host cities are finalising the preparations that will see some 3-4 million fans dispersed between them over the course of the 4 weeks. As the festival of football arrives, the German cities prepare to showcase themselves to the world and perhaps take full advantage of potential long term commercial opportunities as well as the obvious short term benefits provided by the world’s largest sporting event. Germany’s most prominent cities, Berlin, Munich and Hamburg have gained prominence over the years as international centres and short break destinations but it is the smaller and less prominent German cities that stand to gain most from the festival of football this summer.
Stuttgart is one such example. Germany’s sixth largest city has a population of some 600,000 and it’s proximity to the Black Forest suggest some strong potential as a short break destination. Located in the south west of Germany Stuttgart is set to host 6 World Cup games at the 54,000 capacity Daimler- Gottleib stadium culminating in the staging of the 3rd place play off. Stuttgart is an expansive and very green city making it pedestrian friendly and a pleasant place to stroll around. The city has many of the amenities and historical and cultural facilities that are expected of a major European city and includes the homes of the car firms Mercedes-Benz and Porsche and has a reputation as the scientific and technological capital of Germany.
Stuttgart is well positioned to cater for the influx of international football fans with a strong regional infrastructure. The city has an abundance of hotels of varying standards both in the city centre and the expansive metropolitan area. Although Stuttgart is capable of handling large volumes of visitors the availability of rooms during the World Cup is likely to be strained. Late bookers and those planning to descend on Stuttgart would be best advised to check out some of the major hotel websites and the official Stuttgart city website for up to date information and availability.
Travelling to and from Stuttgart is relatively simple. The city is well served by a regional airport with good connections to the other host cities as well as flights to major European cities. The south western situation of the city makes travelling to other host cities, particularly Munich, Dortmund, Kaiserslautern and Frankfurt relatively simple. Internal flights are likely to be full and expensive during the World Cup so other transportation options to and from Stuttgart may be advisable. Stuttgart has good rail connections with the other host cities and is a central hub on the expansive autobahn network. The length and breadth of Germany can be relatively easily traversed by road from Stuttgart as many and many of the major car hire firms have a presence in the city centre or at the airport.
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