The 182nd Oktoberfest, the world’s biggest beer festival and funfair, was hit by a fall in attendance blamed on border controls tightened because of the migrant crisis.
As the 16-day Volksfest finished in Munich yesterday, Oktoberfest chief Josef Schmid explained the drop in reveller numbers this year. Athough cooler, damper weather was partly to blame for the 400,000 drop to 5.9 million – the lowest number since 2009 – he said newly-introduced border checks will also have kept some tourists from neighbouring countries from the festival.
Seeking to register the record numbers of migrants entering Germany as a result of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s invitation to Syrian asylum seekers, the country temporarily reintroduced border controls in mid-September.
German rail operator, Deutsche Bahn, responded by suspending key services to and from Austria and Hungary, reports AFP. Munich central station is a major railhead for the thousands of migrants moving northwards, arriving on trains from Budapest through Austria to the southern German city. However, it is also a destination for those seeking to reach the Oktoberfest festivities.
Inevitably, as attendance fell so too did beer drinking. Consumption of the Oktoberfest Beer fell to 7.3 million litres (1.9 million gallons) or 400,000 fewer glasses than last year, and crime fell with police call outs reduced by nine per cent.
As Breitbart London previously reported, strong security forces were deployed in order to prevent any confrontations between Germans celebrating their cultural heritage and newly arrived migrants – 20,000 arrived on each of the first two weekends of September alone.
Local police reported yesterday their efforts had been successful with “no disturbances” reported between migrants and revellers. Many migrants had been picked up at the German border and transported by road and rail to other regions of the country.