Germany promotes art, culture – and driving!

An executive takes a phone break outside the popular Marlene Bar in the InterContinental Berlin.

The German National Tourist Board (GNTB) is focusing its global marketing activities on the various cultural attractions in Germany's cities and regions under the theme Art and Culture in Germany.

This is in line with a strategy to build on the worldwide attention focused on Germany during the 2006 FIFA World Cup and, at the same time, to tap into the global mega-trend towards culture-related travel.
The importance of cultural tourism for ‘Destination Germany’ is illustrated by the fact that it is one of the leading destinations for culture lovers and that this market segment has grown over recent years.
The theme year forms the nucleus of the GNTB's global marketing offensive and the focus will remain on culture after 2007. In 2008,  Germany will spotlight ‘Palaces, Parks and Gardens’, with a parallel focus on ‘Culinary Germany’. 2009 will see the cultural attractions of German cities being highlighted, with a simultaneous commemor-ation of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall. In the year 2010, the spotlight moves to the city of Essen in the western Ruhr region, that year’s ‘European Capital of Culture’, while the same year marks 200 years of the Munich Oktoberfest and 300 years of the opening of the Meissen porcelain factory.
Regionally, the German National Tourist Office in Dubai focuses on the vast variety of castles and palaces in the country, and on promoting Germany as the perfect family holiday destination with its theme parks and beaches, Heike Murad, manager, GCC states, GNTB, told TTN. She said agents would be advised to focus on the ‘Drive Germany’ theme – driving in Germany is both easy and convenient, and travellers based in big cities are always only minutes away from beautiful landscapes and charming villages. “The best way to discover a country is actually renting a car and driving across the landscape. So take the opportunity to explore Germany under your own steam. All the top destinations are quickly and easily accessible via modern motorways and an extensive network of secondary roads. Drive Germany and just sit back and enjoy the ride.”
Germany started 2007 with continued growth in incoming tourism. In January, German accommodation providers with more than nine beds recorded around 2.9 million overnight stays by international visitors, an increase of 5.8 per cent. This follows on from the success of 2006, when the total number of overnight stays by international visitors over the entire year increased 9.8 per cent on the previous year.
According to a report by Germany’s Bundesbank, international visitors to the country generated 2.6 billion euros ($3.5 billion) or 11.2 per cent more income in 2006 than in 2005. 
By Keith J Fernandez