After two years of coronavirus-related cancellations, Oktoberfest returns to Germany on Saturday with big expectations and higher prices.
According to The Associated Press, an estimated 487 beer breweries, restaurants, fish and meat grills, wine vendors and others will help bring a much-needed tourism boost to Munich, as the event is scheduled to run between September 17 and October 3.
To take advantage of the returning travelers, Oktoberfest officials announced the event would be open longer each day, with the first beer tents opening at 9 a.m. and closing at 10:30 p.m. The last orders will be taken at 9:30 p.m. Before the pandemic, Munich’s tourism centerpiece welcomed around six million people annually.
“It’s beautiful,” Mayor Dieter Reiter said. “You can see the enthusiasm has returned.”
While there is positivity about the event’s return, rising inflation and the ongoing war in Ukraine have impacted prices. On average, one-liter mugs of beer will cost between $12.84 and $14.07 this year, an increase of about 15 percent compared to prices in 2019.
For Germany’s brewers, equipment often fueled by natural gas has become more expensive due to embargoes on Russian imports and prices for barley malt have more than doubled. Even glass bottles have risen by 80 percent and bottle caps climbed 60 percent.
In August, Oktoberfest head Clemens Baumgaertner said the festival would return to Munich with no COVID-related restrictions in place. “The Wiesn will take place,” Baumgaertner said. “It will take place like we know it from 2019, and not in any other way.”
Earlier this year, the German National Tourist Office announced a program to encourage travelers from the United States to visit the country by showcasing its sustainability, responsibility and cultural sites in exciting new ways.
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