Thursday, September 24, 2020

Austria, Germany & Switzerland

German tourism posts 10th consecutive year of growth
March 2020 4558
Germany’s incoming tourism figures have reached a record high for the tenth time in a row in 2019. According to latest – though preliminary – data from the Federal Statistical Office, 89.9 million international overnight stays in accommodation with at least ten beds were registered from January to December.

This represents an additional 2.2 million international overnight stays in comparison to the previous year and an increase of 2.5 per cent.

According to the latest forecast from GNTB, GCC nationals visiting Germany are expected to increase to 3.6 million overnight stays by 2030, compared to 1.8 million guest nights from Gulf nationals recorded in 2018, with key markets being UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

This year, GNTB will focus on its readiness for accessible tourism, instagrammable travel opportunities and its myriad Unesco World Heritage sites.  

Nermin Abushnaf, communications manager, German National Tourist Office, Gulf countries, tells TTN, “As about 10 per cent of visitors to Germany require BarrierFree services, in 2019 GNTB launched a new and comprehensive online database for accessible travel, the first of its kind to include a national labelling and ‘Accessibility Checked’ identification seal.”

Entitled "Travel for All", the database, enables both consumers and tour operators to search for a wide range of accessible holiday facilities throughout Germany, including accommodation, restaurants, activities, shopping centres and essential services such as accessible transport and local tourism offices.

“It includes an online map, showing the location of the item and linking directly to each supplier and the relevant certification. It is an aid not only to the actual travel planning but also researching e.g. activities or accommodation, from a trusted source that provides up to date information from certified partners in BarrierFree travel,” Abushnaf says.

A wide range of travellers in this region also look for an ‘instagrammable destinations’, when searching for their upcoming travels, as sharing their travel experiences on social media channels with friends and followers is an important aspect for them.

“According to a social media statistic in 2019, there are more than 63 million users of Instagram in the Middle East, which represent potential travellers to Germany, known as one of the perfect ‘instagrammable’ destinations in the world. Germany offers more than 130 national natural landscapes – more than one third of the country’s land area is under some form of protection,” she says, “Also, we have 46 Unesco World Heritage Sites, 6,000-plus museums as well as outstanding architecture, cultural and historical treasures. The highest standards of heritage preservation can be found in the capital Berlin, urban areas such as the Rhine-Main region – home to Frankfurt, Wiesbaden, Mainz and Darmstadt – the Rhine-Ruhr region with Cologne, Düsseldorf and Essen, and also other major cities such as Hamburg, Munich and Dresden.”

The 46 Unesco World Heritage Sites feature palaces and castles, nature, garden and landscapes, cultural and spiritual heritage, churches and abbeys, industrial heritage, architecture and design and Historical town centres.

“Following the changing demographics in the Gulf region, we have started to see different travel patterns as we have more than 50 per cent of the population being under the 25 years. Millennials and the Generation Z are interested in authentic experiences and trendy cities like Berlin, Cologne and, for example, Leipzig in East Germany. They also look for more affordable hotels and recreational activities like paragliding, sightseeing cycling tours or hiking in the mountains. This younger generation is more adventurous and keen to explore the lesser known parts of Germany.

“Sustainable experiences have also become part of their travel plans. In Germany, travellers witness various cultural and sustainable aspects of this beautiful country that offers cultural landscapes in unspoiled nature, environmentally friendly transportation links throughout the entire country as well as various aspects that enrich their sustainable experience including green cities, certified tourism providers, 23,000 organic farms, 200 long-distance cycle paths, 300 premium hiking trails, over 130 national natural landscapes and 46 Unesco World Heritage Sites.

The German National Tourist Board (GNTB) started into the year 2020 with its worldwide campaign "Discover Beethoven" marking the anniversary year of Ludwig van Beethoven's 250th birthday.

“In addition to the worldwide ‘Discover Beethoven’ campaign, the German National Tourist Office for the Gulf Countries is also launching a wide range of market specific B2B and B2C campaigns to promote ‘Destination Germany’ with its different angles including nature, sightseeing, entertainment, culture, shopping as well as health, recreation and wellness to the Gulf region and we look forward to working closely with our trade partners throughout the GCC.”

Medical tourism is also an important segment: Germany’s healthcare system is among the best in the world, and hospitals and clinics throughout the entire country offer high quality standards and excellent value for money. So it is no surprise that patients from the Gulf countries have a long tradition of seeking health treatment in Germany – with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE being the largest source markets, says Abushnaf.

As a result of this strong relationship between Germany and the GCC countries, the German healthcare infrastructure is well equipped to accommodate the needs and requirements of the Gulf clientele offering not only highly advanced medical treatment but also comprehensive medical-related services for the patient and the accompanying family members.

“Apart of a wide range of trade activities such as our participation at the Middle East's leading travel trade fair ATM and our B2B roadshow, which will cover various Gulf countries including Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Oman this year, we also organise social media activities and influencer trips in order to provide travel inspiration and to keep Germany top of mind.

“Every year, we also organise the Germany Travel Mart, Germany’s most important B2B platform for the German incoming tourism, gathering about 500 representatives from the international tourism industry from 51 countries. This year, the GTM will take place in May in the beautiful city of Rostock on the North coast of Germany, where we will invite travel trade from the GCC offering them the opportunity to establish new contacts and intensify existing contacts, engage in expert discussions and close business transactions with German suppliers,” she concludes.  

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