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Throbbing clubs pump 1.5 billion euros into Berlin

Clubs are money spinners for the German capital
Clubs are money spinners for the German capital AFP
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Berlin (AFP)

Berlin is something of a paradox, with a bevy of Europe's coolest clubs and trendiest people nestled in a city that can otherwise look shabby and down-at-heel.

But a study published Thursday found the city's status as a Mecca of party tourism is a financial boon to the cash-strapped German capital, as nightlife added 1.5 billion euros ($1.7 billion) to the city's economy in 2018.

Around one in four tourists visiting Berlin said they had come for the clubs, research from consultancy Goldmedia commissioned by the Club Commission nightlife organisation found.

Those numbers -- around three million non-Berliners over the course of the year -- brought in some 168 million euros of direct revenues to clubs and event organisers.

But the "halo effect" of the nightlife industry generated some 1.5 billion euros of revenue for travel, accommodation, food and drink and other businesses.

Each "club tourist" coughed up 205 euros a day on average for a place to lay their head, hangover-curing kebabs or taxis and trams to the party.

"The creative industry is still Berlin's biggest, and the clubs are one of its most important pillars," Club Commission spokesman Lutz Leichsenring said.

People travel from all over Europe to visit Berlin's nightspots -- around 280 by Goldmedia's count, plus "informal" venues -- often arriving by low-cost airline from far-flung cities.

The figures also included a surprise for anyone for whom the words "Berlin" and "techno" are inseparable.

Electronic music from the genre was just the third-most-popular style played in 2018, with 40 percent of clubs saying they played it, while house and indie rock and pop were tied for first place on 47 percent each.

Meanwhile an age breakdown offered comfort to anyone worried stomping around a darkened room in the small hours might only be for the freshest faces, as clubbers were on average 30.2 years old.

Around 9,000 people work in Berlin's club scene, the study found, many of them with a relatively precarious "minijob" contract capped at 450 euros per month.

Berlin's city government last year approved a one-million-euro fund to help nightlife venues pay for soundproofing and hire staff to calm their wilder patrons, hoping to protect the industry from the noise complaints of long-suffering neighbours.

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