GTM: Laptops and Lederhosen
THE desire to bring together both tradition and modernity was central to the 34th installment of the German Travel Mart (GTM) which took place in Munich in April.
More than 1000 delegates, 500 buyers and 366 exhibitors from 42 countries around the globe flocked to this year’s GTM, the biggest showcase and the flagship sales event in Germany’s incoming tourism industry.
At a press conference that launched the three day show, Petra Hedorfer, CEO of the German National Tourist Board (GNTB), emphasised that Germany would be concentrating on promoting the country’s traditional assets while at the same time positioning it as modern, commercially savvy destination.
“Germany is a land rich in fairytales – we have over 5000 castles and palaces; we have hundreds of parks and festivals and open air events,” she enthused. “But Germany is also the leading destination for business travel, has an 11 per cent share of all business travel made by international visitors, and is the number one trade country worldwide,” she added.
Figures unveiled at the press conference confirmed that Germany’s appeal to international travellers is on the rise. In 2007 Germany registered over 54.8 million overnight stays by foreign visitors, representing a 3.5 per cent increase over 2006 -which had been considered an excellent year.
And according to figures released from UNWTO, Germany’s popularity with the Middle East market continues to rise, with 46 million arrivals from the region recorded in 2007, a 13 per cent increase on the previous year – and it is set to increase again in 2008.
Experts at GTM all concluded that Germany’s geographical location, rich cultural history, boutiques and shopping outlets, solid infrastructure and pleasant climate are big draws that should be marketed in full to the Arab traveller. In particular, promoting the country’s health related travel sector to the Middle East market is seen as key to ensuring further growth.
Ernst Hinsken, federal government commissioner for tourism, also said that he believed one of the main reasons for Germany’s continued success was a clear focus on service standards.
“As far as Germany is concerned, we are placing particular emphasis on service and quality – after all our competition throughout the world isn’t sleeping,” he said.
The focal point of GTM was a two day workshop in Munich’s Olympic Hall, where exhibitors from the country showcased their products and services to buyers from around the world.
The upcoming trends for Germany’s travel industry were revealed to be city breaks, cultural holidays, wellness/medical tourism and increased business travel.
by Emma Procter