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Thursday, 02 June, 2016, 17 : 00 PM [IST]

42nd GTM introduces Indian travel trade to lesser-explored Northern Germany

For majority of the Indian trade contingent being first time participants, the Germany Travel Mart proved to be a opportunity for them to know in-depth about the untapped destinations, products and experiences in the lesser-explored Northern Germany, thereby getting food for thought to curate newer itineraries. Akansha Pandey reports.
Organised by Magdeburg Marketing Congress and Tourism PLC at Messe Magdeburg, the 42nd Germany Travel Mart (GTM) from April 17 to 19, 2016, was held in the Otto city - Magdeburg, the capital city of Saxony-Anhalt for the first time ever. Once again, the largest contingent at this ‘green event’ was from Australiasia with 130 delegates, 14 agents being from the Indian market.Overall, more than 530 international tourism professionals, including 130 journalists, from 45 countries participated in the B2B platform, meeting with over 300 German exhibitors.


Specialising in high net-worth luxury and corporate clients, Mubeshir Surti, Proprietor, Journeys & Beyond travelled to GTM for the first time and was overwhelmed with the participation from the German suppliers and GNTB. Appreciating the enthusiasm and commitment showcased at GTM 2016, he said, “The way GTM was put together showcased the seriousness of GNTB and the local suppliers in promoting the destination and products.”

He confessed that earlier he wasn’t able to market Germany as a stand-alone destination due to the dearth of ideas and product knowledge. “It was always a part of the bigger itinerary combining other destinations. I have designed packages to Bavaria, but not to North Germany. But post attending GTM this year, I am confident of promoting Germany as a 10-12 night itinerary,” added Surti. He also undertook a short trip to Dresden in the state of Saxony which he plans to offer to the Indian travellers.

Ketaki Kapur Pantle, CEO, HOPP Worldwide Excursions, too termed it as an excellent experience opportunity to stay updated and curate more of bespoke tours to destination Germany. “In my first visit to GTM, I attended the culinary and beer pre-tour which were of great interest for our clients. They informed us about the German food, especially a variety of salads which can be great for vegetarian travellers from India. Overall, the event was rightly structured and went on time. I got unique insights about two new products that no one is promoting in the Indian market right now and we will be rolling them out very soon.”

Anshul Shah, Managing Partner, All4Season Holidays, highlighted, “I am delighted that in my maiden visit to GTM, I got the opportunity to know about a number of new tourist destinations in Germany. The interactions with tourism boards assisted in understanding about the unique engagement options in the lesser explored Northern Germany.”

One of the most professionally and sustainably conducted events globally, GTM has always been setting benchmarks with every edition, thereby opening up agents in the smaller towns to their global counterparts and providing immense networking and business opportunities. The results of an on-site survey at GTM indicated that 89% of the exhibitors were satisfied or very satisfied, with almost 90% intending to take part again in 2017. Next year, the 43rd GTM will take place in Nuremberg, Bavaria.

This year the Indian agents attended the workshops focusing on Deutsche Bahn and digital Marketing which provided them with an overview of the latest developments. The event started off with the opening ceremony at the Benedictine Monastery Huysburg in the UNESCO World Heritage town of Quedlinburg followed by a walking tour to the MICE venue of Palais Salfeldt (apt for 650 people).

Talking about the Indian market, Petra Hedorfer, CEO, German National Tourist Board (GNTB), said, “We have been seeing Indians coming to Germany in big groups and with families. According to the German Federal Statistical Office, India ranks as the 5th strongest source market in Australiasia for destination Germany in 2015. GNTB recorded 692,612 visitor overnights from India in 2015, making for a 6.6% growth over the year 2014 and a 0.9% share in inbound overnights to Germany. Owing to this steady growth, we forecast an 8% growth for this year.”

Germany is the 5th most popular destination in Europe and is proving to be an engine of growth, even in comparison to those countries that have traditionally been major tourist destinations. We are expecting the upward trend to continue in 2016 as the hotels in Germany offer excellent value for money, with average room rate lower than the rest of Europe, Hedorfer said.

Introducing the Otto city to the delegates, Sandra Yvonne Stieger, MD, Magdeburg Marketing Congress and Tourism GmbH, said, “Known by the Green Citadel Hotel, an architectural marvel and Gigantic Waterway Junction, the 918 metre longest canal bridge in Europe, Magdeburg is a treasure-house of history and culture, and the 2nd greenest town in Germany. Leipzig and with a population of 2.4 lakh, houses a number of research institutions, especially from mechanical and plant engineering. The city is easily accessible from Berlin and Hannover, thus an itinerary can be designed comprising Berlin-Magdeburg-Hannover.”

Dr Tobias Heubler, Head - International Sales, DB Vertrieb GmbH, highlighted, “The next generation high-speed train - ICE4 is currently in the pilot phase and will be operational hopefully by the year end. We aim to interlink booking platforms and information about other transport connections in one app. This will be launched soon. Moreover, by 2030, the number of long-distance services will be increased by 25%.” Heubler added that they are also focussing on promoting “Call a Bike” transport option. There are 10,000 bikes in 50 German cities which are available 24x7. I urge all to adopt this greenest alternative for short haul travel, he said.

Martin Merta, Founder & CEO, Distinctly Deutschland
Our company specialises in bespoke luxury and handcrafted itineraries for FITs to Germany. As of now, 5% of our business comes from the three agents with whom we work in the Indian market. Going forward, we would like to tap the market further and promote guided tours for all age groups, self-drive tours and experiences like staying in a castle.

Hans Jorg Hadbawnik, Regional Director – India & Russia, Stuttgart Marketing
We recorded 190,000 overnight stays (a growth of 13.5% over 2014) from India last year with a good average stay of 6 days. This year we are targeting 200,000 Indian overnights. I urge Indian agents to promote the 13th Indian Film Festival in Stuttgart in July 20-24. In September and October, visitors can enjoy Stuttgart Beer Festival alongside with Ferris Wheels and Rides.

Wolfgang Gartner, Head – International Marketing, Visit Saxony
The day trips are increasing swiftly as compared with the overnights from India which might have seen a nominal increase. We are open to tie up probably with film production companies from the Indian market to popularise the state of Saxony among the Indian travellers and give a major push to the tourist arrival from India.

Ricarda Schnieder, International Marketing, Hannover Marketing & Tourism
There were 3,200 arrivals and 9,400 overnights from India last year. Going forward, the Indian agents can promote the International Fireworks Competition conducted above the Royal Gardens of Herrenhausen. This year’s dates between May to September are given on the website. Apart from this, Indian travellers can enjoy the Maschsee Lake Festival 2016 showcasing concerts and culinary delights from July 27 to August 14 in Hannover.

Inka Rehahn, Deputy Director, Market Management, VisitBerlin
India is the 6th topmost source market from Asia for VisitBerlin. About 60% is leisure and rest 40% are business travellers to the cosmopolitan city. Last year, we recorded 56,600 overnight stays (+15.2%) and 20,800 day visitors (+20%) from India. In the first two months this year, we have observed an increase of +13.6% with 6,700 overnights from India, over the same period previous year and 2,000 day arrivals. Among the new developments, a spy museum was launched early this year and a new airport is under-construction and the launch date is yet to be announced.

Christian Gross, Director, Hochschwarzwald Tourism
With 20,000 overnight stays from India last year, the city of Black Forest witnessed a +15% increase (approx.) with 1 night average stay from India.Amongst new offerings, Hofgut Sternen hotel has been launched recently. We are also promoting activities such as making of a Cuckoo Clock. For people staying longer than two nights, they can avail a number of activities with Hochschwarzwald card.

Marzena Pallazzo, Marketing Manager, Bavaria Tourism
The first two months this year have seen a downfall in tourist arrival from India. However, we continue to promote Bavaria Tourism with beer being the focus of marketing. Three new five-star hotels are coming up in Munich – Andaz by year end and Roomers and Steigenberger by next year. Indian agents can promote BMW driving experience at Maisach city, 30 minutes away from Munich.

Rupert Geiger, Marketing Manager, Munich Tourism
Last year, the tourist arrivals from India observed a minor increase over 2014, with over 3.3 nights of average stay. Indian day visitors were 22,832 (+16.7% over 2014) and 75,027 overnight stays (+1.9% over 2014) last year. This year, we are promoting Munich as a gateway city. New hotels are opening up along with an additional airport terminal.

Dr. Annette Biener, Manager – International Marketing, Frankfurt Tourism & Congress
With 42,000 day visitors and 80,000 overnight stays (+7% over 2014) from India last year, the city would be unveiling new sightseeing attractions and historical facades next year, under the Dom-Romer, a reconstruction project in the old town of Frankfurt.
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