Germany to spearhead medical tourism in the GCC

AFTER last year’s successful promotional tour “Dallal fi Almania”, which translates to “Feel Good in Germany”, German National Tourist Office (GNTO), the local affiliate of the German National Tourist Board (GNTB) in Dubai, addressed the GCC travel industry and media with a road show, particularly focussing on wellness and medical tourism.

The road show involved a series of workshops held by institutional, medical and tourism representatives as well as specialised doctors, coming from Germany. The staged activities included discussions, exchanges as well as one-to-one workshop sessions, which also provided extensive networking opportunities to the participants. The road show, organised in partnership with Lufthansa, finds its grounds in a GNTB’s recent study, confirming that wellness, health and medical tourism places Germany among the favourite destinations of GCC and other international travellers. Given the increasing relevance of the health and wellness sector for Germany’s tourism, the GNTB also decided to dedicate an important part of its 2011 marketing campaign to this theme.

In 2010, the country registered a total number of 968,336 overnight stays from Arab countries, which marks an impressive increase of 26.4 per cent over last year and consolidates the importance of the Arabian Gulf market for the German tourist industry. Germany places itself as the second most visited European country out of the Arabian Gulf region.

GNTO now aims at further strengthening the international reputation of the German vibrant towns and cities, which are a mix of cultural richness and an eventful life. “With this itinerant promotional tool, we aimed at combining and highlighting in the Arabian Gulf the traditional as well as the innovative pillars of the German travel industry” said Antje Roeding-Boudier, director of marketing and sales for the Gulf Countries at GNTB. “Germany’s healthcare system benefits from its unrivalled reputation abroad, thanks to its highly trained doctors and medical staff, the excellent medical infrastructure and the great offer in diagnostics” she explained.

The recent workshops showcased to the local travel industry, media, as well as medical experts and doctors initiatives aimed at becoming further acquainted with the needs of visitors from GCC countries, constantly growing in number. During the road show, the dialogue between the German participants and their audience resulted in great enthusiasm on both sides and confirmed the effectiveness of the road show as strategic promotional tool.

GNTO has embarked on a strategy of engaging the GCC travel industry directly in the region through various activities. Therefore, continuous efforts to boost the positive image of Germany as an attractive destination for wellness, health and medical tourism have been staged at the most important trade fairs and workshops worldwide such as the Arabian Travel Market (ATM), which took place in Dubai in May 2011. In order to ensure the utmost service to its GCC visitors, the GNTB Focussed on producing specialised informative material in Arabic. This involved especially the realisation in the Arabic version of a print brochure entitled ‘Medical tourism – You’ll be well looked after in Germany’ which provides information for international patients as well as on traditional touristic highlights. Moreover, a special page, available both in English and Arabic and dedicated to health related tourism in Germany, can be found at the GNTB newly designed website, under the section ‘Specials’.