Neuschwanstein Castle near Fussen, Germany // © 2013 German National Tourist Office
Germany is coming off a stellar 2012, with excellent growth in the volume of overnight stays by international visitors. The German Federal Statistical Office recorded a total of 4.85 million overnight stays by U.S. visitors in 2012, up 4.2 percent on the previous year.
“The U.S. market is going from strength to strength and has played a promising role in this new record result in Germany,” said Ricarda Lindner, regional manager of the Americas, German National Tourist Board (GNTB). “If Destination Germany continues to perform well, we are optimistic to be on track to achieve 5.9 million overnight stays by U.S. travelers by 2020.”
Part of the way Germany plans to reach this goal is by celebrating two bicentennials this year associated with cultural icons Richard Wagner and the Brothers Grimm, and by reaching out to younger travelers, with a focus on youth travel in 2013. The marketing message for the youth campaign is “Germany for Young People – Vibrant, Fashionable, Innovative.”
“Young international travelers are a target group with considerable potential for growth,” said Petra Hedorfer, CEO of the GNTB.
As part of this initiative, the GNTB launched a social media campaign at the 2013 ITB in Berlin called “Youth HotSpots in Germany — Share the Moment.” Activities are centered on a broad-ranging social media campaign utilizing Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The GNTB has also created an app and microsite for the campaign that provides young international travelers an overview of 1,300 open-access Wi-Fi hotspots in Germany, enabling them to access social networks for free.
The GNTB microsite specifically targets young visitors and gives them the chance to find out about Germany before they arrive. An interactive map shows subjects in five Hotspot categories: must-sees, nightlife, shopping, bars and cafes and festivals and events. Users will be able to update an interactive map with their own Hotspots.
December 20, 2012, marked the 200th anniversary of the publication of the first edition of Grimm’s Children's and Household Tales. This date has set the table for a celebration of the Grimm brothers throughout 2013. The Fairytale Route or Deutsche Marchenstrasse follows both the trail of the Grimm brothers’ evolving careers and the tales themselves. The 373-mile route wends from Hanau near Frankfurt and then through the back roads of Hesse and Lower Saxony to Bremen. While the towns of Hanau, Steinau, Marburg and Kassel are mostly connected to the brothers’ lives, it is the quaint villages and castles along the route that are the main draw for travelers. The route is a breadcrumb trail full of surprises, from the House of Little Red Riding Hood (Rotkappchenhaus) in Alsfeld and the Snow White Museum (Schneewittchen Museum) in Bad Wildungen and the town of Hamelin, famous for the story of its Pied Piper.
The GNTB has launched a new website for the bicentenary of Richard Wagner’s birth (the German composer was born May 22, 1813). Visitors with an interest in the iconic composer can now find information about Wagner’s life as well as special events during the anniversary year. Entitled “Music is the Language of Passion,” the new microsite is available in German and English and features an interactive map to help travelers follow in the footsteps of Wagner.