Germany's 16-day beer-and-food event Oktoberfest, in Munich, is expected to attract record attendance and revenue despite the weak euro zone economy.
More than 3.5 million visitors attended the event's first week, around 100,000 more than the same period last year, and more than 6 million total visitors are expected, when Oktoberfest ends on Oct. 7, Deutsche Welle reported. Around 30 percent of Oktoberfest tourists come from outside of Germany, with Italians representing a strong segment of traffic. The Munich festival has also inspired similar events throughout Europe and the U.S.
Customers have purchased more than 3 million of the event's signature one-liter Bavarian beer mugs, which cost between 9.60 euros ($12.30) and 10 euros, according to DW. They are also buying pretzels, chickens, traditional Bavarian clothing, and paying for rides and games. The local hotel market has reported full occupancy during the event.
A local group is petitioning for a referendum to set a maximum price limit on beer of 7.10 euros ($9) per liter, with annual increases of no more than 15 cents, according to Der Spiegel. But the event's organizers dismissed the move as "pure populism," noting that vendors have to pay millions to operate tents at the event and need "high revenue" to offset the costs.
The festival adds around 1 billion euros to Munich's economy and accounts for around 2 percent of its annual GDP, according to Unicredit.