Outdoor Perspectives/01/24/2018

How city and retailers are increasing interest in the outdoors. To the benefit of residents.

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The diversity of leisure activities in and around Munich is enormous. The region features cycle paths, walking routes, lakes, mountains, rivers and many green areas in the city center. But it’s not just the good location that sustains an enthusiasm for the outdoors. Read about what else makes Munich a hotspot for outdoors enthusiasts.

Outdoor idyll Munich: Jogging by the Isar.
Outdoor idyll Munich: Jogging by the Isar.

Munich is known internationally for its high quality of life. The state capital of Bavaria always occupies the top spots in studies and surveys, and one of its outstanding features is the abundance of leisure and recreational activities within close proximity. The city is especially attractive for nature enthusiasts with a passion for sports. Whether climbing or bouldering in Thalkirchen, joining in with the Girls Surf Workout in the English Garden, or mountain biking on Rotwand — locals and tourists find what they’re looking for in the metropolitan region of Munich. “To compensate for everyday stress, many people look for the free and open spaces of nature,” according to an association committed to providing areas for relaxation within and nearby Munich: the Verein zur Sicherstellung überörtlicher Erholungsgebiete in den Landkreisen um München e.V. The group is therefore committed to working with the Planning Association of Greater Munich (Äußerer Wirtschaftsraum München) with the goal of further increasing the opportunities available. This is one example of how closely linked the communities, associations and market participants are, and how they work together to get residents more interested in exercise. In addition to the active support of the planning association, the group also receives funding from the program “Erholung in der freien Natur und Gartenschauen” (Outdoor Relaxation and Garden Shows). As this example illustrates, Munich doesn’t simply rely on its fortunate geographical position but also purposefully promotes enthusiasm for the outdoors.

If the population is active outside, it benefits everyone

Further proof of good networking is the outdoor sports festival M-Net, which attracted over 50,000 visitors in 2017 for the second consecutive year. With this festival, the municipal department responsible for sports is pursuing several aims at the same time. Firstly, the enthusiasm for outdoor sports, which has traditionally been high in Munich, is being stimulated further — one of the most important aims of the project, of course. Secondly, the event contributes significantly to sales in brick-and-mortar stores and helps the region retain these merchants. After all, Munich is home to many long-established companies in the outdoor industry and is closely connected to the retail trade. Finally, the municipal efforts also create fertile ground for the outdoor industry, which is likewise closely connected to the city.

At the end of the day, this is also due to the corresponding demand and the high levels of motivation to go outside, says Munich’s Mayor, Dieter Reiter, who is pleased that the opportunities made available in the region are contributing to this outcome: “The Munich residents  are notably interested  in sports, above all in  outdoor sports: in the parks, in or on the Isar River, and of course in  the nearby Alps. Around 160,000 people living in Munich are, for example, members in the German Alpine Club (DAV). But the city also does a lot itself to encourage people living in Munich  to get exercise outside. We organize  the outdoor sports festival in the Olympic Park and other sports festivals to present a great variety of sports.” Living this outdoor spirit and cultivating this active lifestyle in Munich and its surroundings is something that is important within the community and generally increases the quality of life. Mayor Reiter knows how important that is: “I’m grateful that I  can be mayor of such an active, vibrant, sporty city.” 

Outdoor retail is also demonstrating pioneering spirit in Munich

The enthusiasm generated must also be accommodated on the retail side, however.  The Munich-based outdoor sports retailer Globetrotter demonstrates how that is possible with a unique store concept. The brand’s flagship store has a 125 m² environmental test chamber for high altitudes, a transparent climbing wall and a water exhibition area with wave machine and geyser, where customers can test out their equipment on-site under the most diverse outdoor conditions. A comprehensive outdoors experience is offered here, and in cooperation with the DAV Summit Club, the medical practice of the Berlin Centre for Travel and Tropic Medicine (Dr. Tomas Jelinek), as well as the Oberland section of the DAV, it is being expanded into an all-round package for outdoor enthusiasts. Furthermore, long-established Munich-based firms such as Schuster, Ludwig Beck, Sport Bittl and SportScheck are among the most well-known and successful retailers in the outdoor industry. A close-knit network of industry retailers and manufacturers has thus taken root in and around Munich, and it includes many internationally-renowned companies such as Ortovox, deuter and Lowa.

The place to be for adventurers and companies from the outdoor scene

At the heart of Europe, the metropolitan region of Munich offers retailers and manufacturers short distribution channels and an infrastructure that brings millions of tourists into the region year after year. But in addition to these physical factors, the spirit also plays an important role. With real political backing, active clubs and associations and events such as the outdoor sports festival, the city, state and residents are showing how much outdoor sports mean to them. With this kind of support, Munich is a perfect example of the interaction of quality of life for residents and fair business development that doesn’t take advantage of individuals but instead strengthens a whole industry.