Petra Hedorfer, CEO of the German National Tourist Board // © 2017 Meagan Drillinger
Feature image (above): This year’s Germany Travel Mart was held in Nuremberg, Bavaria. // © 2017 Meagan Drillinger
Bavaria is known for its charming villages, quaint architecture and, of course, hearty cuisine. And this year’s 43rd annual Germany Travel Mart (GTM), held May 7-9 in northern Bavari’s Nuremberg, showcased it all, while bringing together more than 500 travel industry representatives across 50 countries.
“Tradition, innovation and hospitality — these are three words that sum up Bavaria and that are reflected in 2017’s GTM,” said Petra Hedorfer, CEO of the German National Tourist Board (GNTB), during a press conference. “It is these attributes that make this free state so special and that make it Germany’s No. 1 region for tourists.”
Last year, Bavaria set a record of more than 90 million overnight stays, representing more than 20 percent of the overall German market.
GTM always culminates in a two-day workshop, where buyers and sellers take to the trade show floor for two days of meetings. This year’s workshop was held at the NurnbergMesse trade fair center, where around 330 exhibitors from the hotel industry and transport industries showcased their latest developments and products.
Below are some GTM highlights, including an update on international tourism to Germany as well as new campaigns and events.
Current State of Tourism
During the press conference, members of the international media were briefed on the most recent facts and figures regarding international tourism to Germany.
Especially of note was that inbound tourism to Germany continues to grow, albeit at a slower rate than previous years. In 2016, overnight stays by international visitors were up by 1.4 percent; however, the number of visitors coming from overseas were down by .3 percent.
“We are living in turbulent times,” Hedorfer said. “It was a difficult year for difficult reasons, including the slowdown of some major economies and economic recessions in South America.”
According to Hedorfer, Brexit was also an issue.
“The relationship between Europe and the pound has become worse for British tourists visiting Germany,” he said. “Competitive markets and guests from all over the world can travel to the U.K. for less money, so competition has become tougher. Fortunately, everything has stabilized.”
However, tourism from the United States has continues to grow. For example, there were an additional 140,000 overnight stays from the U.S. in 2016, showing a year-over-year increase of 25 percent. The U.S. also generated about $5.6 billion of sales in Germany in 2016, an increase of 11 percent.
As for 2017, GNTB is anticipating the number of Americans traveling to Germany to increase between 4 and 5 percent.
New Marketing Campaign
To help promote Germany as a top vacation destination, GNTB is using its online and social media channels to promote specific travel packages, events and other tourism offerings from all 16 states as part of a new campaign called “Germany - Simply Inspiring.”
“As a brand, Destination Germany is very well positioned in the global market,” Hedorfer said. “The difficult conditions for incoming tourism in 2016 will continue to play a role in source markets in 2017. That’s why we want to communicate the undiminished appeal of Germany as a travel destination more strongly, using engaging travel tips that provide potential travelers with even more reason to visit.”
The overarching campaign story, “Inspiration is here,” shows off the variety that Germany has to offer. Themes for videos and other advertisements will include Food and Drink; Castles, Palaces, Parks, and Gardens; Music and Shows; and Traditions and Customs.
Focus on Food Culture
A trip to Bavaria is incomplete without sampling the local food and drink, as Bavaria is known internationally for its traditional beer and sausages. Members of the media were treated to the traditional Nuremberg bratwurst, as well as Nuremberg “rotbier,” a red ale that is typical for this part of the country.
Germany overall is looking to highlight its authentic culinary offerings in 2018; its “Culinary Germany” campaign will focus on dishes that are typical for each region of the country. A film project, run in collaboration with the 16 regional marketing organizations, will present typical gastronomic specialties from each region, using authentic stories to add color and context. In spring 2018, GNTB will host culinary events with food trucks showcasing German asparagus, bread and wine. In addition, influencers at international cooking events will be cooking specialties from the film project.